I've always thought that tactics was a specific set of events. Something a "sergeant" or "platoon leader" would use with his troops. Tell them specifically what to do, so he knows what is going on, and can efficiently attack a target. For example, rush the soldiers down the hill, kill the workers quickly, then concentrate on the guards afterward.
Whereas, "strategy" was much much broader. The general would have the strategy, determining when and where to attack, and reasons behind it. For example, attack the supply lines first, to cripple the opponent, then hold a defensive stance until the opponent is in dire need of supply. Next surround the opponent and attack.
The "general" (strategy) determines the "when", "where", and "why" of the attack, while the "sergeant" (tactical) determines the "how". Strategy is the broad idea without the specifics, and the tactical is the specifics without the broad idea.
I am trying to explain why RTS's aren't, in my mind, strategical. I guess, because you can make supply lines, it is semi-strategical, but tactics rule the game. Its all because of one word: Micromanagement. Your a general! You shouldn't need to tell each specific soldier what to do! You should be delegating your authority.
And the "campaigns" of the RTS. Each story explains why you are going to the next level. That's the "general" giving you "the grunt" the strategy... you determine the tactics to use.
I've finally found a game I like, though. Conquest: Frontier Wars has a great idea: Admirals. If you want to go knock over a planet, order your admiral to go do it, and let him worry about the tactics. Sure, you can jump into the battle, but the generals do pretty well in combat.
Will other RTS designers pickup on the idea or make clones of successful games??
Well, there are two genres that are starting to jump onto the innovation highway, instead of making clone-games: FPS and RPG.
The FPS's are jumping aboard, cause of the modding community (hey, if I want the same game with different levels and a few more features, I'll make it myself!). The modding community forces game designers to bend their brains before coming out with a new game. That's what RTS games need to adopt to get out of this rut.
RPG's are going innovation-way because of the storytelling modes that the newer games come out with (Vampire: Masquerade, and Neverwinter Nights). You can build an online campaign with simple tools provided by the game. The next set of games will have to have something more than just a good story, now. And the new Freedom Fighters games makes sure that all characters you make are unique (including skins!).
Looks like some new technologies are helping "boost" the gaming industry out of the innovation rut that its been placed in. Maybe its just a way that game developers force their publishers to accept new ideas (cause its the publishers that say "Hey, everyone likes quake, lets make a game just like it!").
Note: Sorry this is so chaotic. If I had time, I'd organize it more...