Winning the Peace Ch. 1 (AKA: Not Nation-Building Ch. 96)

Save America

ST UnWoke!

I’ve had opportunity to work overseas with many of Uncle Sam’s alphabet soup agencies (DEA, CIA, DOS, USAID, etc.) and have generally been underwhelmed by their lack of foreign language skills and understanding of the local culture. On the other hand they are filled with lot of really intelligent people with advanced degrees who speak and write English extremely well but seem to have little familiarity with making stuff happen. Nothing wrong with advanced degrees and such, but sometimes speaking fluent Spanish is more helpful in understanding why a Bolivian coca grower is not so keen on the alternative crop program. Maybe if our people understood the realities of his world, they would know that the buyers of coca leaves will ship his product to market. Potato buyers don’t.

Yes, even in Latin America our government representatives often fail to communicate – sometimes with horrendous results. An example of this…

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