(Source: The Sydney Morning Herald)
As the Cold War was ending in the late 1980s and early ’90s, Western nations, confident of a lasting peace, began to neglect the tools that had sustained them in the ideological war against communism. In the US, institutions of public diplomacy and strategic communications were disbanded, and foreign service hiring frozen, in what the US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, called a “gutting” of the US’s ability to engage, assist and communicate with the world. Other countries blindly tagged along.
[…] Right after the BBC World Service was forced to announce deep cuts to its budget affecting even its Arabic-language services, Egypt and Tunisia evicted their presidents. The impact is reverberating around the Middle East.[…] The events of the past few weeks in the Middle East have surely reinforced the power of the media (new and old) to inspire, engage and propel change.