Disney is picking up steam in China, and in addition to bringing cartoon characters, theme parks, and Americana, it's also bringing the English language. U.S. policymakers should take notice.
During the next five years, Disney will spearhead a massive expansion of English-language schools in China, from a mere 11 today to 148 by 2015. According to Russell Hampton, president of Disney Publishing Worldwide, the expansion could deliver operating earnings of more than $100 million.
In other words, teaching English is good for business. But it can also deliver strategic benefits in terms of trade, public diplomacy and even military strength. That's why English-language programs should be given more priority in U.S. foreign policy.