walk softly and carry a big stick

walk softly and carry a big stick

A variation on "speak softly and carry a big stick," a phrase popularized by US President Theodore Roosevelt that encourages one to attempt peaceful negotiations while also being armed and ready for battle. Because that group is violent and unpredictable, I think you need to walk softly and carry a big stick when you deal with them.
See also: and, big, carry, softly, stick, walk