A Paradoxical Reason for Optimism in the East the Sad History of Radio Free Europe May Offer Larger Lessons

By Mihajlo Mihajlov. Mihajlo Mihajlov is a scholar and former Yugoslav dissident. He is of Moscow Summer, and Unscientific Thoughts. He worked analyst-commentator and correspondent Liberty. | The Christian Science Monitor, May 4, 1994 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

A Paradoxical Reason for Optimism in the East the Sad History of Radio Free Europe May Offer Larger Lessons


Mihajlo Mihajlov. Mihajlo Mihajlov is a scholar and former Yugoslav dissident. He is of Moscow Summer, and Unscientific Thoughts. He worked analyst-commentator and correspondent Liberty., The Christian Science Monitor


THE recent turmoil in Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is caused by several factors: The original intention of President Clinton to liquidate these Radios as relics of the cold war they helped to win. The cutting by Congress of their combined budget by two-thirds, which has resulted in the cessation of broadcasting in several East European languages. The disclosure by Sen. Russell Feingold (D) of Wisconsin of research on corruption and the misuse of funds by the top executives of the Radios. The demonstration of hundreds of employees in front of headquarters in Munich against the plan to move operations to Prague.

All this creates pessimism about the future.

For more than 40 years, RFE/RL was probably the most important and peaceful tool of the democratic world in fighting communist totalitarianism. During this time the Soviet Union and its allies spent five times as much money jamming the Radios than the Radios themselves cost. The actual cost to the United States was minimal: $218 million in RFE/RL's biggest year. It is no accident that Presidents Vaclav Havel, Lech Walesa, and Boris Yeltsin, along with former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev, praised the Radios for their role and pleaded with Mr. Clinton not to destroy them. The situation in the old communist world is still dangerous. Communism can easily be replaced by nationalism and fascism.

Clinton amended his original intention of eliminating the Radios as a tool of the "cold war." Instead he took a half-step - placing the hitherto independent Radios on a path to becoming a subordinate entity of the US Information Agency and promising big budgetary saving (all of $150 million, after several years) as a result of this consolidation.

Everyone who knows the Radios knows this is a step toward liquidation - since there is no point in having two separate and duplicative broadcasting units under the same command.

Unfortunately, despite the misguided intent behind eliminating an allegedly "right wing" anti-communist "cold war" entity, there are reasons to criticize the Radios. But those reasons have been exploited by ideological opponents of the existence of the Radios, such as Senator Feingold.

For the last 10 years, there developed in the anti-totalitarian institution of RFE/RL some of the same bureaucratic conditions found in the communist world against which the Radios battled. One is reminded of Friedrich Nietzsche's thought that "he who looks too long down an abyss himself becomes an abyss."

Thanks to the unusual setup of the RFE/RL - it was broadcast to a heavily jammed private market, making it hard to know who was listening - the company's financial and marketing circumstances were in some respects similar to those of a socialist enterprise.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

A Paradoxical Reason for Optimism in the East the Sad History of Radio Free Europe May Offer Larger Lessons
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?