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CENTRAL VIEW for Monday, February 10, 2020

by William Hamilton, Ph.D.

Want to get ahead? Learn a foreign language.

During the failed attempt to convict President Trump on Articles of Impeachment, among the 17 officials who testified were three members of National Security Council (NSC).

The National Security Council (NSC) is located across from the White House in the Eisenhower Building. Under President Kennedy, the NSC staff numbered just 12. Under President Obama, that number swelled to 450 staffers, to include some low-ranking staffers who, ignoring the Pentagon, would cable orders to four-star generals in Afghanistan and Iraq.

President Trump is learning the NSC is still jam-packed with Obama holdovers who think that they determine U.S. foreign and military policy. And, if they donít get their way, they "leak" to the anti-Trump mainstream media (MSM). The solution? Carry out President Trumpís plan to whittle down the NSC numbers to 120.

Meanwhile, one might ask why are so many relatively junior officials sent from other executive branch departments to the NSC? Often, it is because they speak a foreign language such as Ukrainian or Russian or Chinese.

Memo to parents: If you have a child who has good hearing and good mimicking skills, make sure that child learns one or more foreign languages. The best way, of course, is Total Immersion. For example, send the child to live with a foreign language-speaking family long enough to absorb the sounds of native speakers and be able to replicate them. Spelling and grammar can be learned later in a classroom setting. Or, via audio-visual language programs such as RosettaStone.

But if mastery of pronunciation is not doable via Total Immersion, use audio CDs and tapes as a substitute. After learning how the foreign language is supposed to sound, the audio-visual programs can be very helpful.

Senior officials, who only speak English, are easily intimidated and impressed by those who can speak, read, and write in a foreign language. Consequently, some people with very little world experience get appointed to high positions within our government. The NSC is no exception.

Thanks to the Army Language School (now, the Defense Language Institute), this writer became totally immersed in High German. That worked to my benefit when, in the mid-1960s, Dr. Henry Kissinger, Dr. Fritz G.A. Kraemer, and Dr. Helmut Sonnenfeldt were scheduled to descend upon Ft. Benning to do three days of speeches and panels for the officer-students, faculty, and staff of the Infantry School. All three Germans spoke English somewhat well: however, we knew they preferred German in private. Ergo: they needed an aide-de-camp (ADC) who was fluent in German. Someone to be with them almost 24/7 for the entire three days.

That should have been my boss; however, he learned German from his German war-bride wife who taught him the intimately familiar "du" form of the language. Ergo: the ADC job fell to me, a lowly captain, who knew the more formal "Sie" form.

Was I qualified in foreign affairs at the level of Dr. Henry Kissinger? Of course, not. But skill in a foreign language got me an assignment way above my knowledge base. Although hard on my liver in the evenings as my three charges "decompressed", the assignment inspired me to take an interest in geo-politics and, eventually, teach history at the university level.

©2020. William Hamilton.

At 1:p.m., Mountain Time, on February 17th, William Hamilton will be on KOA Radio 850 with Mike Rosen to discuss Dr. Hamiltonís most recent book Formula for Failure in Vietnam: The Folly of Limited Warfare. Ten-percent of the bookís royalties will go to the Blue Angels Foundation to help support the work being done to help veterans and others with PTSD. To order, call toll free: (800) 253-2187. Or, go to Amazon.com or McFarlandPub.com.

©1999-2020. American Press Syndicate.

Dr. Hamilton can be contacted at:
P.O. Box 2001
Granby, CO 80446

Email: william@central-view.com

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