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View Diary: Idiocy at the State Department (85 comments)

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  •  I'm not disagreeing with you (1+ / 0-)
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    about our horrid interventions around the world. Some blame can be placed on the structure of the State Department (and their are many career hacks) but most of this is due to the ideology of the administration being served. Language fluency will not necessarily preclude evil acts, though I believe it can humanize. Really Charles II, the foreign service folks in Latin America do speak exemplary Spanish. Some of them are spying, obviously. How their work is used ---today, and not just 30 years ago--- is the political issue.

    •  You might be interested in this GAO Report (2+ / 0-)
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      IreGyre, anana

      Comprehensive Plan Needed to Address Persistent Foreign Language Shortfalls.:

      As of October 31, 2008, 31 percent of Foreign Service officers in overseas language-designated positions (LDP) did not meet both the foreign languages speaking and reading proficiency requirements for their positions.
      While the problem is worst in the Eastern hemisphere and least severe in the Western hemisphere, 20% of LatAm personnel who should be language proficient are not. And, it should be noted, 55% of Foreign Service overseas positions don't require any language skills!  

      So, sure, many people speak the local language. Many are good, dedicated public servants. I think the larger problem is cultural outlook.

      •  Uf, you're right, that's not good (0+ / 0-)

        Cultural outlook is a good way to put it. It keeps amazing me that universities and secondary schools have no foreign language requirements, or very feeble programs for fulfilling language requirements ---it's about our pinche insularity.

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