Tilting at Windmills

July/August 2012 Lost in translation

By Charles Peters

One of the consistent problems with our foreign policy is that those executing it have been less than fluent in the languages of the people with whom they are working. The good news is that the State Department is improving: the number of positions filled with people qualified in the appropriate language now stands at 75 percent. The bad news is that, for the Defense Department, the figure is at just 25 percent.

Charles Peters is the founding editor of the Washington Monthly and the author of a new book on Lyndon B. Johnson published by Times Books.