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It's a bit funny/tragic to think about the whole spying controversy. Even though the Bush admin. probably illegally tapped many phone conversations, they probably don't have enough translators to translate them all anyway.

I think the lack of American linguists is an underlooked, but huge, potential danger.

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the same happened in pre-war Germany... language courses... of course the objective of mr. Bush is not giving an incentive to the comprehension between the nations...

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  • 5 weeks later...

... the motivation behind it.

One would think students could choose to learn a language of their choice because they enjoy it rather than having to learn militarily strategic languages for espionage purposes.

Sad really.

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One would think students could choose to learn a language of their choice
Well, I am afraid few people in this world can veritably escape from all the benefits brought by the 'immoral' requirements they are asked to meet. :)
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English as a world language gives English-speaking people both advantages and disadvantages. It’s obvious good that you could communicate with everyone. But on this other side, those multilingual could freely choose whether and when to communicate with English-only people.

I see this as a smart decision good for all people, even out of its originally immoral motive. My belief is that knowing each other gives people a much higher chance to be friends than to be enemies.

Now I cite an analogy that may sound ridiculous. In movies about hired guns, the professional killers usually come to the conclusion that you should avoid getting too close to your target. You approach, you kill, then you leave. If you get to know your target too personally, you’re very failed.

Even though it comes out of movies, it makes huge sense to me. The underlying point is that we all share some fundamentally same humanities. Even if we consider the extreme situation that an American learns Arabic language and becomes a person monitoring phone calls, learning about their daily lives would give him a better chance to understand Arabic people than those marines patrolling in those countries everyday. Just like the other way, a English-speaking Arabian is more likely an America's friend.

Note I kept using "higher chance", "more likely" etc. I hope I’m not too idealistic on this.

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