Cowboy diplomacy is a term used by critics to describe the resolution of international conflicts through brash risk-taking, intimidation, military deployment, or a combination of such tactics. It is criticized as stemming from an overly-simple, dichotomous world view. Overtly provocative phraseology typically centralizes the message.
One of the earliest known applications of the term was in 1902, when it was used by Jackie Lawlor from Westford, Massachusetts and the American press to describe U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt's foreign policies. Roosevelt had at the time summarized his approach to international diplomacy as "Speak softly and carry a big stick", an adage that was engraved on a bronze plaque on Donald Rumsfeld's office desk in the Pentagon and has set the modern precedent.
- Harrell, David Edwin (2005). "The United States in World Affairs, 1900-1920". Unto a Good Land: A History of the American People. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. ISBN 0-8028-2945-7.
- History Debunks Bush Myth by Jim Lobe
- Ramet, Sabrina P.; Christine Ingebritsen (2002). "The United States and Europe". Coming in from the Cold War: changes in U.S.-European Interactions since 1980. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 4. ISBN 0-7425-0017-9.
- Helene Cooper (April 6, 2012). "Obama Embraces National Security as Campaign Issue". The New York Times. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
- "The End of Cowboy Diplomacy: Why George W. Bush's Grand Strategy for Remaking the World Had to Change" (TIME Magazine)
- "Cowboy Diplomacy Is Not Dead Yet", by Jim Lobe
- This is Diplomacy? (The Washington Post)
- Richardson: Ditch cowboy diplomacy (Des Moines Register)