There is no way to reconcile these two immediate faces of America to millions of people across the world; the military and the Peace Corps will always serve their own distinctly different purposes and for many reasons it is better that it remain this way.
The U.S. must pay attention to two bitter consequences of its sanctions: the collective punishment of the Iranian people and the destruction of their lives; and the rise of anti-Americanism among the Iranian people, and even those who oppose the Islamic Republic.
Already under criticism by Republicans, President Obama will have to explain his policies in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, and Syria. He will also have to explain the lack of protection for U.S. consulate personnel in Benghazi.
The debate over who actually represents God's will is one that the both Bush and Obama have studiously sought to avoid. The U.S. is not at war with Islam per se, U.S. officials insist. Still, among Muslims abroad, suspicion persists and not without reason.
Is this finally the new Russia, reaching out without the defensiveness that has so long characterized its attitude toward the rest of world? Particularly with regard to the United States, the answer, unfortunately, is still "No."