The extreme lack to comprehend the value of public diplomacy, soft power, and the (apparently quaint) concept of action-reaction of the current GW Administration has been emphasized in "Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations". As the Washington Post writes in Pentagon Revises Nuclear Strike Plan:
A [White House] spokesman said the United States would "respond with overwhelming force" to the use of weapons of mass destruction against the United States, its forces or allies, and said "all options" would be available to the president.
Diplomatic finesse, including a real respect for regional beliefs and political freedoms, and strengthening economic foundations of states and regions are completely absent from nearly every bit of communication from this Administration. Practical application of our cultural and economic power to strengthen our country and not the top leadership and their cronies has been replaced by the ignorance the facts ("what has Brownie done wrong?").
Is a bigger stick the real path to making the world safer? Did that work in the school yard? Will it work with people driven to extremes from financial hardships (both domestically and foreign that are apparently invisible to the Administration)? Wake-up and smell the home-brewed explosives symbolizing McVeigh and Osama bin Laden opportunists and undermine their support. The failure to complete the mission in Afghanistan has resulted in handing over a volitile region to the enemy. The failure to properly execute the mission (which was what again?) in Iraq and follow through the appropriate clean-up toward 'state-building' is handing over a volitile region to the enemy.
What does this doctrine really solve? Does it help with Latin American super-gangs (also the result of economic desperation and disparity)? Did the legal prosecutions of the first World Trade Center bombers really deter anybody, as the prosecutor claimed when announcing the indictments?
Ah, but who am I really speaking to? The choir or empty cyberspace? Probably the latter...