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

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  •  A long term deficiency... My dad was in the State (1+ / 0-)
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    CharlesII

    Department from the 1940s to the mid 60s... he was multi lingual and while it often helped his work his superiors who had little or no extra language skills could sometimes be hostile or feel like he was undercutting them...

    By the time of his last post in Bombay/Mumbai he had an English only boss for his last 6 months there who gave him a bad "efficiency report"... which led to a DC posting and the usual "Selecting out" that ended his career. And since then the pattern of there being career diplomats versus political appointees seems to have persisted. The appointees do not have the languages sills usually and the career people divide into the ones who conform to whatever the appointees prefer and the appointees will often not value the language skills of those who offer truth over policy obedience. (and Republican administrations make this even worse)

    Game players, apple polishers and ass kissers often get ahead in many places and the State Department is no different. They do pay lip service to language skills being valuable but in the past at least it came second or worse to being a team player snapping to attention and toeing whatever the latest line happens to be. And they lose good people who do not play the internal diplomacy game as well as actually being a diplomat and among them are people with good language skills.

    Military and intelligence services seem to  do a better job of ensuring they have people who can speak the language when the role calls for it... and State going with alleged English proficiency in a country as a reason to do without people fluent in the local languages is just sad. Does not sound like much as really changed.

    Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

    by IreGyre on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 05:11:14 AM PDT

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