by user Dannyjnorman
What is the DIME? And how does it relate to IOPs?
IOPs are national Instruments Of Power (IOPs). They are the tools countries use to get their way in the world.
They consist of Diplomatic, Information, Military and Economic.
The Diplomatic IOP consists of treaties and agreements made between countries and involves negotiations and dialogue between countries. The six-party talks between China Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea and the United States over the North Korean nuclear program is an example of the Diplomatic IOP. Diplomacy is considered a soft power. While the US is considered to be weak on Diplomacy, it is not the IOP the US is least effective wielding.
IOPs are rarely used individually. By combining multiple IOPs a synergy is built to make the total effect exponential. In the case of the six-party talks while the talks themselves were part of the diplomatic effort, the freezing of North Korean assets would be considered using the Economic IOP. Freezing assets is only one of the various tools in the Economic IOP. Other forms of the Economic IOP include tariffs, sanctions, embargoes and boycotts. The Economic IOP is a hard power as compared to Diplomacy which is a soft power.
The other hard power in the DIME is Military. The Military IOP goes beyond just deploying troops though. Sometimes it includes only increasing the readiness of the troop levels. Some examples of Military power include Military Presence, Show of Force and Deployment.
While increasing the readiness of troop levels might be part of the Military IOP, stating that troop levels are at a heightened state of readiness is a function of the Information IOP. Information is the other soft power countries have to use in their IOPs. Information is the one IOP that the US fails at the most, not Diplomacy. Most US literature on the Instrument IOP is written by the military and therefore has a distinct military flavor to it. Most of the discussion centers around getting information about the enemy, using that information to your benefit and protecting your information, intelligence in short.
The Information IOP must be looked at in a much broader sense. The military looks at Information on a tactical to operational level. At the strategic level Information comes in the form of world opinion. How well are you selling your story. Are you making it clear what your purpose is?
The US has poorly sold its story ever since WWII.
Looking at Hezbollah as an example, while Hezbollah is a known terrorist group, some people will defend Hezbollah because of the social infrastructure (schools, hospitals, etc.) they have built for Lebanon. While the actual construction required economic power, the sentiment, is part of the Information IOP.
Is China a rising threat or on a peaceful journey? The Information they are putting out is they are on a peaceful rise. But when China shoots down a satellite, it damages the Information IOP, because the Information IOP goes beyond just Information, it includes the perception of the Information that is delivered. China contradicted the peaceful rise Information is was delivering the world when it shot down a satellite.
There was a story that in the 1980s the US was sending food to a starving third world nation and as the trucks offloaded the bags or crates, Soviets were marking out the USA in the "Gift from the USA" and marking "USSR." Although there may be no truth to he story, it clearly states that without the Information part of the DIME all the best intentions in the world could be fruitless.
No other country in the world contributed the resources the US did to the Pakistani earthquake victims. Although there are sure to be some US sympathizers in the area, in general, the population of Pakistan is not enthralled with the US. The information disseminated in the madrases is stronger than the aid the US offered.
With world sentiment so strongly against the United States, it is easy to conclude that the United States is not selling its story well and losing in the world opinion arena. Until the US makes a concerted effort in this arena, no matter what actions US takes, the US will continue to fail with the Information national Instrument of Power.
For more on this see Free Thinking Americans