President Bush has not done enough to back up his threats against Iran and Syria... part of a larger trend of Bush combining strong words with weak actions....This has a little grounding in history. For instance, Khrushchev put missiles in Cuba in part because he thought he could get away with it, because JFK was weak and inexperienced. However this seems pretty remote from the current situation, given the over-reliance on the military in our foreign policy, a good deal of which is structural/institutional, and thus not dependent on the President's personality.
It is hard to see how Bush could reverse this decline in America's "fear factor" during the remaining year of his presidency. That will be the job of the next president. And who would be the most up to the task?
To answer that question, ask yourself which presidential candidate an Ahmadinejad, Assad or Kim would fear the most. I submit it is not Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or Mike Huckabee... Ironically, John McCain's bellicose aura could allow us to achieve more of our objectives peacefully because other countries would be more afraid to mess with him than with most other potential occupants of the Oval Office -- or the current one.
But if we want to elect McCain solely because he's trigger-happy and a little unbalanced, why stop at McCain? I say we resurrect Curtis LeMay from the dead and elect him. He's only slightly older than McCain anyway, and he surely would scare the rest of the world (seeing as they are insufficiently scared of our brilliant military policy in Iraq and Afghanistan).
An addendum - I find it ironic that the "crazy" candidate is publicly anti-torture, while the "reasonable" one, supported by Wall Street Republicans, wanted to double Gitmo.