The following is cross-posted from The Jacksonian Party.
From The Free Dictionary we can pull up a list of things with the DIME acronym, of which one is the most pertinent to modern conflicts: DIME- Diplomatic, Information, Military, and Economic.
These are cited time and again as the necessary underpinnings for creating a successful Counter Insurgency (COIN) plan for integrating local populations with the help of external forces to the population involved. These are, quintessentially, 20th century industrial views on what an integrated society *is* and what its underpinnings *are*. They are meant to be representative of a governmental effort to coordinate between external abilities of a government to create a stable societal environment so as to have a basis for successful COIN operations. Note that this is true not only for external, invading armies of a Nation, but internal to Nations as well, especially ones that have high levels of ethnic and social differences internal to the Nation. While the first is highly touted in post-war conflicts of external military ventures, the second is also indicative of internal conflicts against separatists or resentful peoples who have strong disagreement with their National government. For the first most would cite WW II, Philippine-American War, and similar Nation State to Nation State conflicts like the Napoleonic conflicts of the 19th century. Coming to a equitable agreement for a new accountable government that will uphold the Law of Nations between Nations is the litmus test of DIME operations for such conflicts. This does not ensure peace or stability, but does ensure the understanding of reciprocity between Nations is paramount in world affairs.
The second set, however, needs to be explored as it is no less of a need to bring accountability and responsibility to the forefront, but for the goal of stability and peace internal to the Nation involved. Here things are far than good and the list of conflicts gives one a feel for the direction of these internal accommodations: War of the Roses, US Civil War, Serbian independence movements pre-WWI, Spanish Civil War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Pol Pot's regime in Cambodia, Lebanese Civil War, Shining Path in Peru, FARC in Columbia, Bosnian-Serbian Conflict, Kosovar Conflict, Rwandan genocide, Eritrean independence movement, East Timor Conflict, Kasmir uprisings, Chechnya separatist movement, Moro insurgency and even such things as the Chiapas region of Mexico or the ethnic strife in Darfur. Each of these needs commitment on a scale for their governments no less than that of an external conflict, and yet some of these governments are so poor as to be unable to properly muster any ability to address such needs. One cannot utilize economic capability if there is very little of it to start with and any uprising or conflict puts *that* into doubt. Military means requires a relatively reliable and cohesive military system that has accountability to governmental authority, yet that is eroded by criminal activity, 'insurgent areas' and outright terrorist bribes to the fighters on the ground. To get reliable information one needs a reliable infrastructure for reporting, be it by telecommunications or pony express, and to have representatives of the government that will *not* be bribed and will act as intermediaries that can be trusted for their reliability. And that gets to the diplomatic realm of understanding that working agreements out without force is preferable to using force, but that diplomacy, of itself, cannot stop war if there is no ability to accommodate on disagreements by all parties.
DIME, then, has serious lacks when put on the stage in the actual, physical world that has individuals that are human, mortal and have the negatives of same. Further, these conflicts have moved from highly organized Civil Wars, with actual new governments and societal structures being instituted, to more and more dispersed and distributed affairs that no longer abide by the concepts of Nation State - accountability, responsibility to those in a region, and can, in places like Kasmir, Kosovo, Bosnia, Lebanon, Chechnya, represent the fomenting of war by organizations that seek only global disorder so that they may rule. DIME has some basis against those that hold society to be a basis of government, and are willing to work out equitable agreements after bloodshed as the cost of sacrificing civilians between belligerents is a losing proposition for both. Against those that are *not* part of the local society, however, THAT is not a problem, and continual foment and killing forever onwards until the collapse of the society is seen is the actual GOAL of it. These latter day affairs see more in common with that, as a concept, than in the previous era of the Nation State civil wars as the goal was to create a government accountable to a given part of society. And as these non-Nation State actors are more than willing to utilize ideology, ethnic tension, religious differences, sectarian differences within religions, and, in fact, things like criminal extortion and oppression as means to their ends, the legions of those that can be recruited are vast. Every society has disaffected social elements represented by individuals that feel that they are no longer part of the process of the Nation State and are being suppressed by it.
That leaves DIME in a dilemma as the basis of having common society, even in disagreement, must not only be in the majority, but it must reach near unanimity. Even .1% of any society may bring death, destruction and intimidation with it as a means to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with society and government and create a high death toll. Mere handfuls of anarchists in the 19th century assassinated Kings, Princes, and Presidents on a relatively random killing spree across decades and that would only burn itself out as the activity of anarchy was that to create disorder. Their means to organize on a larger than local or even National scale was limited. Anarchists burned themselves out as the pointlessness of their activities pointed out a pointlessness of the lives involved. Limited internal organization due to credo limited scope of destruction and the flames of anarchy burned hot and then to completion as they created nothing in their wake. Modern day creators of havoc, those called transnational terrorists, have a different goal and have means to achieve it. The goal is to overturn the order of Nation States so that their outlooks will be the supreme order amongst mankind. Their means to achieve this is provided by the very international global trade system which seeks to enforce the lowest cost of goods to individuals with no accountability attached to that trade beyond *payment*.
Those who have created this global internetwork of trade have also utilized DIME, but in a different form. The goal has been to achieve this thing known as 'open markets' and to have 'economic stability' and the global movement of capital as the means of production to those places that have the lowest wages for that production. These organizations have been part of Treaty negotiations on the diplomatic side and have utilized systems of pay-offs and buy-ins from repressive regimes so as to get their way. Their information capability piggy-backs not only on that of the Nation State, but via other actors that are either local, regional or global that already have a presence in markets. The military side was far more present in the 19th and early 20th century with the concept of having Nation States enforce treaties favorable to companies, which became known as 'Gunboat Diplomacy'. The economic power that was utilized would even keep one President from waging war against an enemy and used economic loss of companies as an excuse not to do so. The leverage of international and now transnational capitalism is used to benefit those organizations for means of production, distribution and sales, but have very little adherence to the concepts of liberty and freedom.
These two movements that are transnational in scope and diametrically opposed on the concepts of stability do, however, work hand-in-hand as neither has a view towards 'creating a better world' beyond sloganeering. Conceptually transnational terrorism seeks to utilize the cheapest means possible to disrupt Nation States and cause societies to decohere. These organizations are supplied by transnational capitalists more than willing to sell all the goods that are needed at a low price. As both sides of this have deep inroads to the criminal and black market sides of things, these transactions will take place no matter what the edict of any individual Nation State is or any group of Nation States due to the influence of the global trade community. Putting a *price* on dealing with those seeking to bring Nation States down is worked against by transnational capitalists which refuse to have any burden put upon trade nor accountability of trade to anyone in a responsible manner. Here the activities of individual companies and their outlook matters less than the global transport and transaction systems which operate on both the 'white' and 'black' side of trade. Attempts to make producers 'responsible' for where their goods end up has fallen flat on its face because the laws are such that only hard and fast ties to those that would bring down societies and Nations is required before any accountability can be had. And as the focus is upon the trade and not the manufacturing, the system of international trade, itself, is found to have no basis of accountability outside of treaty.
Treaties made to accommodate the movement of goods at the cheapest price to any paying customer.
On top of this comes a third conception of transnational affairs and that is transnational progressivism. This is a system of elitist viewpoint that puts forward that current liberal democracy or, indeed, any system that does not recognize differences between groups of people first is the cause of problems. To that end the elements supporting this put forward that the rights that one is to get is not based upon individuality but, instead, group affiliation. As this is an elitist outlook, any group designated as a 'victim' is then given more leeway and rights than 'oppressors', and 'victims' are not held accountable for their actions. Thus there is no advancement in society for the individual, what one has at birth in the way of groups, be they ethnic, religious, or societal minority, matter more than being a citizen of a Nation State. Individual rights are by association at birth and whatever the elite class determines can be handed out as a reward depending on whim and factional strife. This outlook has been utilized to actually foment discontent amongst ethnic populations that cross borders due to reasons of history and Nation State creation. A short listing of such illuminates this outlook: Kurds, muslims in Kasmir, native Americans across the Americas, North African muslims in France, and muslims, generally, across Europe, ethnic Chechens, ethnic Albanians, ethnic Serbs, ethnic Bosnians, latinos in the US, ethnic Malay, Timorese, Moros, and the muslims across North Africa. These groups by ethnicity and religion are further dissected downwards via sect and intermarriage until the plethora of groups means that one starts to find 'victimless' crimes being perpetrated by terrorists because they are of some designated 'victim' group. In the US this meme has been inculcated so that poor individuals who commit crime blame society for their upbringing, not their lack of character to make a responsible individual out of themselves as the motivation behind crime.
This system of outlook that is elitist and authoritarian in outlook utilizes the DIME concept to its advantage also. On the diplomatic fronts a number of associations in the West have created the 'Arabists' and other 'regionalists' that put forward that individuals, groups and Nations can't be held to a higher standard, such as adhering to treaties, because of the 'circumstances of their Nation' and the 'repressive nature' of their society. Poverty is put forward as the root cause of everything, because it is an insoluble problem short of socialism: in any achievement based economic system there will always be a bottom 10%. Socialism, luckily, makes everyone equally poor so there is no bottom 10% as no one can achieve anything. And the best way to make economic 'divides' WORSE is to get high capability capitalists in to put in transnational manufacturing sectors utilizing the lowest wages possible to 'exploit' the 'poor'. While many transnational progressivists take to the streets to decry the 'low wages' that this or that company gives to the workers there or decries the 'working conditions' because they do not meet Western standards, they never, not once, decry the overall poverty of such Nations nor that these 'bad jobs' are better than anything else to be had in that Nation. It is, instead, creating a 'impoverished class' of individuals who are being 'exploited', while those very same jobs create an 'economic divide' inside the Nation where the jobs are. Apparently one can be both too rich and too poor in this outlook: poor enough to be a victim, but rich enough to become affluent.
That is DIME working to near perfection as a way to erode the capacity of Nation States to have internal accountability without outside interference and gain any prosperity at all. And any attempt to use internal means to suppress riots, terrorism, etc. is decried as utilizing the military to 'suppress the victims'. To do this transnational progressivists use the media to their advantage as much of their elitism is held by the very same media organizations they decry these problems too. Thus a single side of any problem is put forward and the 'way forward' is always for the 'victim class' to 'gain power' and not be held accountable for their actions. The information gained via media outlets on diverse ethnic, cultural and religious populations then serves the transnational progressivists as a way to identify which will be the next 'victim class' to be uplifted above others. Western manufacturing plants in the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Columbia, Argentina... indeed anywhere there is relatively cheap labor to fulfill manufacturing needs then serves as a place to foment divisions within society by putting forth that economic means cause inequality and that minorities are 'oppressed' by 'majorities'. Soon 'labor activists' show up, decrying things that, to Western eyes, look harsh, but to local eyes may seem otherwise. Yet the only thing that gets put up is the gold standard of 'inequality' and 'exploitation'. Never mind that folks making a good wage and a good life may be the upshot of such 'exploitation' as that is just another 'social divide' being caused by transnational capitalism.
With that these three transnational concepts come together as an interlocking whole. Expanding capitalism causes 'divides' as localized income increases, 'activists' arrive to help engender a feeling of being a 'victim', and those feeling the pressure of 'repression' be it real or imaginary, then fund organizations that further expand the 'problem'. Soon the concept of terrorism arrives from various groups, be they Nationalist, Communist, criminal or religious, and the killing starts which requires, perforce, National military action.... which is decried as suppression. In no time at all a factory or two suddenly gets a society in unrest, money flowing out from local affluent 'victims' to fund further agitation and then the killings begin, perhaps only one or two at start, but more as 'repression' is felt from those 'in power'. With the capitalists completing the cycle of making cheap and affordable arms available by white or black market means.
Each of these outlooks wants to ensure that strife remains in place for their own reasons. The transnational capitalists use this as a means to ensure that locals are kept on edge without having to increase pay to them and, if they leave to join 'insurgent' or terrorist groups, then they will need supplies provided by other parts of transnational capitalism and the local plant now has a low cost, entry level worker.
Transnational progressivists can utilize the 'exploitation' and the 'oppression' and not hold terrorists accountable as they are merely 'poor and exploited', ignoring that most of those doing the killing are actually well paid and have an education. By putting down a 'root cause' that cannot, ever, be addressed save by making everyone poor, exploitation is assured and any response by any government that does not meet the demands to turn more power over to smaller groups is met as an 'oppressive' response. As more 'repression' happens, upon designated minorities, foment is spread by 'activists' and the media to start larger scale 'solidarity' often across Nation State boundaries.
Having turned over the soil and added the fertilizer of actual jobs, then watering it with discontent and adding such seeds, is it any wonder the noxious plant of terrorism sprouts and grows from there? Terrorism is not done by the poor save for low level killings and such, but is actually guided by the affluent and college educated. Only the rich and well off can have time to make fine distinctions between texts, tracts, religious books, and other treatises and find cause to feel the 'will to power' via the sword. Would that it were only hand crafted swords and not mass produced weapons involved, as that would take a bit to establish. Instead any minor cash infusion to a terrorist organization creates the ready purchase of cheap small arms to be used in attacks to gain media attention and claim 'victimhood' while committing crimes. And when this is seen as an effective outlet either through lack of governmental response or by governments pressured to 'accommodate' problems, more local money flows into such 'successful' organizations.
Creating, of course, more 'repression' and more spreading of cheaper arms under the limelight of the media.
And the Nation State?
'Obstacle to trade'.
'To be opposed for the purity of ethnicity/sect/class'.
DIME has a problem in that it serves equally well to set up the structures to collapse society as it does to uphold it. DIME is known as a set of 'vectors': pathways of major parts of society and systems that need to move in coordinated fashion to achieve ends. They are a set of 'means' not 'ends'. And, as such, can be used in any number of paradigms for how to have society, how to govern and, apparently, how *not* to do those things. As a method of COIN we must recognize that the opponents of Counter Insurgency, namely Insurgency, utilizes these exact same vectors in opposition to orderly society. That is because these vectors are neutral to ideology and only means to an end, not ends in and of themselves. If we treat DIME in isolation to the underpinnings of society, then we shall soon have no society in common as it fractures under the multiple forces of transnationalism which seek to gain by that destruction. To counter that the actual goals of what DIME is utilized for must be clearly and succinctly stated and all activities traced directly back to those goals. DIME utilized without such goals then can be utilized in opposition and that opposition will tear up any society upholding a group that does not put forward the goals first. In the military parlance this is known as the 'Grand Strategy'. It is more than just 'victory' but the reasons why victory is worthwhile and the goals of that victory BEYOND mere victory. If these are not clearly upheld at entry into a conflict, then there is no way to trace any lesser level strategy or tactics (the implementation tools and locales for strategy) back to the larger goal. In the realm of business this is the Corporate Business Plan or Outlook document, to sort out the major goals to be achieved by said business, and hiring folks to work in a business unit is mere tactics. In this realm of thought, DIME is a way of implementing Grand Strategy and NOT Grand Strategy in, and of, itself.
The original Marshal Plan had a Grand Strategy outlook to rebuild Europe along democratic lines and equality of rights and make sure that Germany never posed a threat to the world again. That took nearly two decades to finally come to a conclusion and it did not succeed fully in that so many Nations fell under Communism. Yes it was not fully successful because the will to uphold it was not present and a counter-strategy was able to thwart it. Without the on-the-ground tactical will to support Eastern European democracies, those Nations did not GET democratic rule until they got it for themselves. The Marshal Plan FAILED them, and cannot be seen as a full success because the M part of DIME was no longer seen as viable after a World War. What we got was DIE, and many, many did under repressive regimes, re-education camps or just such simple things as low standards of living. By not meaning what we said about democracy and putting for Military support of our Grand Strategy, we were barely able to save Western Europe from Communism.
So, when folks try to propose a 'Marshal Plan for the Middle East' just *what* exactly are the goals of that and will you back that with US military might? If not, I suggest you go peddle such elsewhere, as any plan without that element of reciprocity tends to fail.
Finally this brings us to what is necessary to oppose the transnational use of DIME via its three major formats: capitalism, progressivism and terrorism. To do that requires a 'Grand Strategy' that will not utilize just DIME but also create a societal factor for stability, accommodation and reciprocity internally and externally to Nation States. These are not tactics, nor programs, nor ways to spend money, but this is the outlook of what those things are to work *towards*, not only in Iraq but globally. DIME, on its lonesome, supports anyone willing to utilize it for their own ends, be it in the use or degradation of any of its elements to support other goals. To change that, there must be one major factor as a goal: accountability.
The First Goal is: Accountable Government. That is not only to the people internal to the Nation but between Nations. To do this requires acknowledging that there are consequences to actions taken and that the best way to solve adverse consequences is via accountability and the concept of reciprocity to hold government accountable for its actions. And the laws internally must also be accountable and those within it must acknowledge that a law between those in the Nation is primary above all other things.
The Second Goal is: Rule of Law. Again this is not only internal to a Nation but between Nations via this thing known as 'Treaties'. Internally law is applied to sustain society and the order of society, and law must be a product of accountable government. Governments create and sustain laws via the activity of law enforcement, but that means can vary from Nation to Nation so long as law is upheld in an accountable fashion. One of the major goals of accountable law, internal to Nations and via Treaties is that they be comprehensible to the 'common man' in the Nation(s) involved. If a law or Treaty cannot be clearly stated and defined it opens up the opportunity for abuse and invites same by those trying to shift emphasis from the intent of the law to the wording of the law. If the intent of a law or treaty is not clear, then no fine verbiage can allow it to be adhered to. And laws and treaties with exacting goals will be lost in a sea of verbiage if the meaning of words trump the intent of laws or treaties. Laws and treaties differentiate between activities, but do not discriminate between those doing the actions. Treaties in their own class may have discrimination on single State-to-State affairs, but multi-Nation Treaties are non-discriminatory as to ethnicity, religion, or any other physical or societal factor.
The Third Goal is: Equality before the law. This means that all citizens of a Nation are treated equally before the law, and that those multi-Nation Treaties must adhere to non-discriminatory language so that actions are addressed not intent. This does not mean that all individuals in a Nation are free, by any means, and many forms of government offer very little in the way of rights to citizens and yet can sustain equality of all before the law without regard to placement, stature, income, race, or belief system. That system of accountable law is held by government which is accountable to its people. People can, indeed, have very few rights and repressive laws, so long as the highest leader and lowliest beggar are equal before that law and no means are present to prevent the intent of the law from being carried out. Amongst those in multi-Nation Treaties, all Nations are equal to them and they agree to the Treaty, in full or in part, and will be held accountable to those parts they sign up to. Here the accountability is by other Nation States.
The Fourth Goal is one of the oldest to the Nation State system: Religious worship is not to be dictated by the State. The Westphalian concept that Nations may adhere to religions, but they may not force religion upon all the individuals inside their Nation are upheld. All religions are allowable and individuals must be given leave to practice same without interference or discrimination by governments. Religions have proven singularly incapable of governing large, mutli-ethnic, multi-cultural Nations, and the dead from the religious wars in Europe that caused the Treaty of Westphalia to come about is a 'lesson learned' on that score. Governments can, indeed, have religious adherence, but the ability to force anyone to decide ONLY for the religion of that government should be anathema to the West and, indeed, to all Nations.
The Fifth Goal is one to counter transnationalism: The basis for diplomacy and the accountability by Nations to each other is Nation State based. No other actors may be put on that stage from individuals to NGOs. Charities are organizations that give aid and succor to the poor and help in disaster relief. They are not a permanent conduit of unaccountable cash, arms and goods to any region or people. That is the realm of Nation States who can agree to have such organizations or *not* between them. There is no legitimacy in warlike activities outside of the realm of the Nation State system. International corporations are not to be a party to any Treaty negotiations between Nation States and as legal entities are fully amenable to the laws and treaties involved between Nations and may not seek to sway them via any form of lobbying. Commerce between Nations is conducted by groups and individuals that have accountability to those laws and treaties and that activity of commerce is only afforded by the system of Nation States which allows it to operate. If Nations like the idea of 'free trade' they can offer it because it is seen as good for their Nation and those they offer it to, not because it will benefit businesses. And accountable governments may, indeed, place restriction upon trade in the form of ban, travel restrictions, tariff, or designating those breaking those laws as Pirates and seen as out only for the welfare of themselves, not the Nation they are part of in that doing. Nations make the basis for trade and create the framework in which it exists and individuals, companies or any other non-Nation actor has no business dictating what they want upon Nations and are Pirate and Outlaw if they break those agreements.
Goals create, classify and define objectives to be met: they are the stated objectives for which the basis of underlying program scope and activities can be done. Within such a common framework one can create and craft a wide array of Foreign Policy for a Nation and uphold that Nations are the representatives for the people that are contained within it. A hard and fast Foreign Policy that upholds these concepts allows for a common framework between Nations to be held, although it guarantees neither stability or peace it is one that allows such to be formed. And from those times when the framework breaks down or even reciprocity breaks down, a policy for National action across the spectrum can be made to protect the Nation, the people and the system of Nation States. Without such things the basis for creating a war strategy is very difficult as one has no basis for stating the objectives in warfare and the aftermath of such conflicts. And without that the basis of COIN work is damned near impossible as it requires the underpinnings of understanding what the civilized discourse between Nations is and what is and is not acceptable within that framework. DIME is only one set of vectors in COIN, and are amenable to any who would utilize them to their own ends, and they do not define the entire gamut of National interest, power or ability, just major sections of same.
Again, these 5 goals are *not* Foreign Policy but serve as the acceptable basis upon which Foreign Policy can be built. And it does, indeed, allow us to discriminate between Nations and decide which ones would be good to have Treaties with and which ones are not so good for that. It also puts forth what the National view is towards international outlaws, who threaten the discourse amongst Nations, seek to overturn Nations or just seek to profit by preying upon the commerce of Nations. In this actual world such are very hard to implement as this Nation called The United States of America has helped those that do not stand up for these basics of civilization held between Nations. Sticking to these things define what the Nation can support in the way of other Nations and activities, and realize that a price will be paid by the Nation and its Citizens in trying to bring other Nations to this outlook of civilization. But then, there has always been a cost in time, effort, money and blood in creating and upholding civilization. And quite some more in trying to bring it down. It appears to be a never ending task, and the only one worth the cost.
31 July 2007
The following is cross-posted from The Jacksonian Party.