Sunday, December 19, 2004

How to win a war without going to war

That seems to be the idea at the core of a new U.S. European Command program known as "effects-based" warfare. EUCOM refers to the approach by the acronym DIME, short for "diplomacy, information, military, and economic." The program's main goal is to restore stability to developing nations on the brink of collapse before military action becomes necessary. In other words, it's a pre-emptive strike without the "strike," using the vast economic and diplomatic tools at America's disposal rather than armed intervention.

The approach has been around for centuries, of course, and the United States has adhered to the policy for much of its history. So why the renewed focus on resolving conflicts through non-violent means? Stars and Stripes gives the answer in a paragraph buried in the middle of the story, where it paraphrases a EUCOM official as saying that "[i]n the past, the U.S. government sometimes used too much of the military portion of the approach and not enough of the other elements." In the past, of course, which is certainly not to be confused with the present.

Stars and Stripes is subtle sometimes, but that's why it's so good.

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