Show The Flag Meaning

(idiomatic, by extension) To represent one's country or some other group in a manner intended to suggest the authority or importance of that country or group.

Example: 1896, John Barrett, "America's Interest in Eastern Asia," North American Review, vol. 162, no. 472, pp. 263-264:
  A few suggestions are given . . . maintaining an effective naval squadron to show the flag and protect American interests.
1947, "Martin Lo," Time, 29 Sep:
  On a routine cruise to "show the flag," the British warships Amphion and Contest steamed into the harbor of Santa Ana Island in the southern Solomons (which are under a British protectorate).
1980, "‘Who Lost Afghanistan?’," Time, 28 Jan.:
  Henry Kissinger stopped off in Kabul to show the flag for a few hours in 1974.
2004, "Bush operatives moving to primary states," CNN, 19 Jan. (retrieved 4 Jan. 2009):
  The Bush-Cheney re-election campaign will send a high-profile team of surrogates to both Iowa and New Hampshire in the coming days to train and motivate Republican activists and to "show the flag" in states in which the Democratic presidential race has dominated political debate.