Do Americans have to speak the language to colonise?

Care to wonder why Washington’s message to the world is often so contradictory, hypocritical and clueless? Look no further:

About a third of Foreign Service officers in jobs that require language skills don’t have the proficiency required to do their jobs, hurting America’s ability to advocate its interests around the world, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.

The report, which has not yet been released, but was obtained by The Cable, spells out the consequences of having a Foreign Service that in many cases can’t communicate with local officials or populations, relies too heavily on local staff for critical functions, and can’t respond to bad press when it appears in foreign languages.

Substandard skills were found in people holding 31 percent of the approximately 3,600 jobs that require a certain level of language proficiency, known as language-designated positions, up from 29 percent in 2005. In critically important regions such as the Near East and South and Central Asia, that number rises to 40 percent.

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