I was surprised to see that the Pentagon has a Chinese-language program similar to the Confucius Institute, a Chinese government-sponsored language program for colleges and community schools.

Evidently, the Pentagon has announced that it will pull its Chinese-language funding from schools where there are Confucius Institutes. It is hard to understand the obvious hostility to a program that benefits the University of Southern Maine and local schools.

I have taken several language classes through the institute. The staff are friendly and professional. I still miss staff who have taught here but returned to China after their tour of duty. Do they want to encourage friendly feelings toward China? Yes, of course. Don’t we want other countries to think well of the U.S.? Like most veterans, I have no desire to return to any Asian country, but I treasure my institute friendships.

Chinese and Americans are very similar in being frank and open with good senses of humor. We may not agree on Tibet and Taiwan, but we can still be friends.

The institute costs colleges like USM very little while greatly benefiting communities nationwide. This new Pentagon policy is shortsighted and unfair.

Joseph Hachey


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