It's the "Speak softly and carry a big stick" foreign policy
|And to make that foriegn policy effective, you actually have to use the stick from time to time or else people forget it's there and ignore it (that's also known as the French foreign policy, but that's a different post).|
Flexing your muscles and using that big stick every so often, makes the diplomacy a more effective tool. "Help us or you're next" was an effective message in this case.
Can I see why the Pakistani's feelings may have gotten hurt by the "rude" remark? Sure. Do I think Armitage should apologize? No. He was blunt and got straight to the point. After 9/11 we didn't have the time or the patience to sugar coat messages to avoid stepping on toes. It was get on board, or you're a target. Besides being blunt takes diplomatic double talk out of play. There's no hidden messages or extra meaning to be inferred. Simple and straight to the point.
And guess what. It worked.
Musharraf's been an ally, despite that being a largely unpopular course of action in his country.