“DIME?” There is no “DIME” – just a massive “M” and pretty big “E”

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Friday’s Last Word: Pull Pin, Throw Grenade, Run Away: A provocative thought to kick off the weekend…

It’s no secret that the United States is a massive enterprise.  While in graduate school, this chart from The Economist caught my eye.  It depicts each of the 50 U.S. states as world country equivalents.  So, for example, I lived in New Zealand from 2010 to 2012 – which is roughly economically equivalent to the U.S. state of Kansas.

Image courtesy of The Economist. Image courtesy of The Economist.

Particularly when one looks at that chart, it’s not hard to see that the U.S. has fairly large economy.

We like to think of power in four (simple) ways – DIME: D for diplomatic, I for informational, M for military, E for economic.  Some add a “FIL” to the end of that, but we’ll leave that aside for now.  When one writes out the acronym “DIME” – the letters come out roughly equivalent.  Meaning, they’re about the same size on the paper.  But that’s just not the case, especially in the comparison between the “D” and the “M.”

In 2010, the U.S. spent $29 billion on the State Department – and $693 billion on Defense (with war supplementals).

If we use that raw ratio to arrive at a relative comparison – 693/29 = approximately 24.

So when we write that simplified national power acronym DIME – should we use 1 point font for the “D” and 24 point font for the “M?”  Is the United States out of balance here?

Political cartoon by Matt Wuerker of Politico. Political cartoon by Matt Wuerker of Politico.

Author: ML Cavanaugh

Unequal parts strategist, assistant professor, wordsmith, runner, wine-o, reader, philosopher of firepower, and hopeless lover of three ladies named Rachel, Grace, and Georgie.