Following up on my call earlier to Dave looking for resources about DIME, he e-mailed me something he got from a friend who teaches at West Point:
DIME is a list of the instruments of national power:
The ability of the United States to achieve its national
strategic objectives is dependent on the effectiveness of the US Government
(USG) in employing the instruments of national power. These instruments of
national power (diplomatic, informational, military, and economic), are normally
coordinated by the appropriate governmental officials, often with National
Security Council (NSC) direction. They are the tools the United States uses to
apply its sources of power, including its culture, human potential, industry,
science and technology, academic institutions, geography, and national
To which I responded,
National will! We forgot about national will! DOH! That’s the problem!…
And kidding aside, that IS the problem. As long as our conversations about strategy is grounded in the kind of political vocabulary we’ve heard for the last few years — mostly based either in trying to appeal to bases or win elections — we’re not going to be able to assemble the national will to focus all of our resources toward international goals that are beneficial not only to this country, but to the world at large.
Where George W. Bush has failed, more than in any other way, is in assembling that national will and leading us to act upon it.
Unfortunately, so far I haven’t seen either McCain or Obama state a whole strategy that the nation can get behind — that is, something that goes beyond the either-or oversimplification of "soft power vs. hard power." If they did it and I missed it, I’d appreciate a heads-up.