Bernd Debusmann published an article today examining the extreme lack of foreign language and international training among Americans.
Debusmann points out that this isn't a new trend, and despite the surge of American citizens enrolling in Arabic language classes post 9/11, about half the number of American college students enroll in foreign language classes today as compared to 1965.
The book was entitled "The Tongue-Tied American: Confronting the Foreign Language Crisis" and its author found that a deficit of language skills threatened U.S. business and national security. That was in 1980. The words "globalization" and "jihad" had not yet become household terms.
Fast forward to the present and the latest report on foreign languages and international education by the research council of the National Academies: "A pervasive lack of knowledge about foreign cultures and foreign languages threatens the security of the United States as well as its ability to compete in the foreign market place."
So has nothing changed since the late Paul Simon, then a congressman, later a senator, warned about the consequences of a tongue-tied America? Judging from a wealth of statistics, there has been much effort but little progress.