“Learning a language is a path to the avoidance of the kinds of misunderstandings and miscalculations that give rise to conflict. It is essential to understand how the native speakers of the language think. It is the sine qua non of transnational cooperation and alliance management. It is also the best antidote to the classic sin of analysts and military commanders: the tendency to view one’s partners and competitors as the mirror image of oneself, projecting onto them one’s own values and thought processes rather than understanding their perspectives and proclivities in their own terms, for what they are. In peacetime such false expectations are a source of tension; in wartime they can lead to surprise and defeat.”
Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr.
Honoring Language Learners
At the spring’s graduation ceremonies at West Point to present awards to cadets who had excelled in learning Chinese and Russian