Simply put, the United States Air Force is not a tool honed for “soft” or “smart” power. Its understanding of the commons is at odds with the idea of a positive sum game. This is not to say that airpower (whether manifested in the USAF or otherwise) does not have a critical role to play in the future of U.S. defense policy in the Asia-Pacific. Rather, it is important to specify the contribution made by each instrument of foreign and defense policy. The Navy has devoted substantial intellectual and material energy to developing “smart” and “soft” power tools for engaging with diplomatic partners, and has indeed made such engagement a critical element of its overall approach to maritime security. The Air Force has yet to develop a conception of “soft power” more complex than “friends make the exercise of hard power easier.”
Yet another predictable anti-airpower screed etc. etc.