Elements of National Power

The four basic elements of national power are
  • Diplomacy
  • Economy
  • Information
  • Military
Diplomacy
It includes influencing the international issues, situation and crisis via Bi-Lateral and Multilateral agreements, negotiations, MOUs and engagements with countries’ State Department or Foreign Office taking the overall lead. The Diplomatic elements are conducted with foreign nations United Nations and with International Non-Governmental Organizations.Example: United States’ State Department

Also ReadNational Power: Meaning, Nature, Dimensions, and Methods

Economy
Shaping and influencing international activities through government spending and taxation (both discretionary and entitlement program activities) with Finance department taking the lead via monetary policy( money supply and interest rates), trade agreements, trade policy and other trade activities which are often bundled together with government’s policy to promote international trade. This element is often considered boring, mind-numbing and slow compared to the other elements of National Power but in 21st-century countries, sovereignty is often decided with its economic condition and if critical for the stability of the nation.

Information
Information is understood to mean the government communicating its aim and intention often dubbed as “Strategic Communication”.
As throughout the Cold War United States kept USIA-United States Information Agency which overseas was known as United States Information Service (USIS). Formed in 1953 USIA stated goals were
  • To explain and advocate U.S. policies in terms that are credible and meaningful in foreign cultures; 
  • To provide information about the official policies of the United States, and about the people, values, and institutions which influence those policies; 
  • To bring the benefits of international engagement to American citizens and institutions by helping them build strong long-term relationships with their counterparts overseas; 
  • To advise the President and U.S. government policy-makers on the ways in which foreign attitudes will have a direct bearing on the effectiveness of U.S. policies. 
In response to the negative portrayal of the U.S. from communist propaganda the "USIA existed as much to provide a view of the world to the United States as it did to give the world a view of America". The purpose of the USIA within the United States was to assure Americans that, "[t]he United States was working for a better world". Abroad, the USIA aimed to preserve a positive image of the U.S. regardless of negative depictions from communist propaganda. One notable example was Project Pedro, a secretly funded project to create newsreels in Mexico during the 1950s that portrayed Communism unfavorably and the United States positively. (Source: United States Information Agency/Wikipedia)
This element is often used to tell their side of a story to various audiences so as to counter the adversary's attempt to spin the truth.

Military
This element is best known and often the only element of National Power that is fully resourced with standing plan and execution process. Whether there is an internal situation (like civil war, natural disaster, law and order, terrorist threat) or addressing international situations i.e. Long War, the military elements of National Power is often the immediate default selection. Also, intelligence (collection and direct action) is clubbed together with the military element of national power.