The US military is to pay extra $500 to all officers and soldiers (in addition to translators and intelligence officers) who know at least one foreign language, especially Russian and Chechen. Those who know two foreign languages will be paid $1000 extra, and so on.
The decision was made by the US Department of Defense. They concluded that implementation of various missions abroad largely depends on the ability of soldiers to communicate in the language of the inhabitants of the country where the operation is conducted. “We are talking about the human aspect of the mission. To be successful, it is important to understand the customs and culture of these people and speak their language,” said Lt. Col. Paul Valenzuela, responsible for implementing the program of language training and regional studies at the Air Force.
According to the lieutenant colonel, approximately 4.3 thousand military people currently receive the said language allowance. Interestingly enough, Russian falls into the category of “urgently needed”. Pravda.ru talked to three experts to find out why.
“Choice of a language to be mastered by the US military says a lot,” says Dmitry Rogozin, permanent representative of Russia to NATO. “This allows predicting areas where Washington may become active. If we look at the list of languages recommended for American military pilots, we will see that in addition to Russian and Chechen it includes the languages of other peoples residing in the Caucasus, such as Azerbaidzhan, Armenian, and Georgian. This means that in the near future the US may pay particular attention to the Caucasus region. However, I do not see a possibility of a serious conflict between Russian and the Block NATO. This is not because the alliance is particularly friendly towards Russia; this is because while we have modern nuclear weapons, they will not bother us. Yet, it is possible that they will try to drag us into conflicts through third parties, like it happened in August of 2008. Then someone pushed Saakashvili to get aggressive towards South Ossetia.”
Konstantin Sivkov, the first vice president of the Academy for Geopolitical Issues, thinks that is worth remembering that not long before the aggression towards Iraq and Yugoslavia, American officers began studying the Arabic and Serbian languages. “Now, the US is preparing for aggression that would not happen tomorrow, but this preparation is under way. The increase in the allowance for American officers should be considered as one of the elements of this preparation. First of all, it is directly connected to American military training that recently took place in the Baltic states. During the training, the Pentagon practiced transitioning of large military troops from the US and Western Europe to the Baltic states.