A Russian government crackdown on outside democratic influences and the announcement of layoffs at the American-financed Radio Liberty in Moscow bracket the crumbling of American public diplomacy. This breakdown has been going on for some years and has greatly accelerated in recent years. John Lenczowski, founder of the Institute of World Politics graduate school in Washington, DC, provides the background in Full Spectrum Diplomacy and Grand Strategy (Lexington Books, 2011).
Essentially, the United States is slowly retreating from the war of ideas in the world, the peaceful, but vitally important battlefield where accurate news and truthful commentary are made available to audiences that otherwise would not have access to them. Prime Minister Putin's dislike for such outlets is well known and, given his penchant for news manipulation, well-understood. Now what we seem to be experiencing is the collapse of will on the American side. This gives painful new meaning to the term "reset".