We Shouldn’t Need to Die For Our Country

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The gruesome potential advent of another World War is becoming worryingly likely. You’d                                                                     think after many years of carnage and huge loss of life in today’s world there are different, much safer and reasonable ways to deal with conflicts between nations. However, as the possibility grows, many nations have a different worry with the likelihood of war – they’re facing a sharp decrease in people willing to sign up for their armed forces.

With the two world wars 80-100 years ago now, there was conscription for single men aged between 18-41 to legally sign up to the army. Conscription has since been scrapped and some are calling for it to come back – a point that is being forgotten is what I mentioned at the start of this section. It was 100 years ago; times are significantly different.

The younger generation are no longer jumping at the opportunity to fight for their country, and some have harshly called it cowardly, or shameful because previous generations were more willing once upon a time. There’s certainly a disconnect here as many of the younger generation feel they are the victims of poor leadership across the world. This has led them to have no reason to want to risk their lives for leaders that don’t care for them the way they need to. In fact, it’s not just the younger people that are now taking a strong stand against signing up for war.

The generation that would be called upon have a lot more access and knowledge about the consequences of war and potential solutions than ever before – it’s often on the internet, and it’s often exposed by other political leaders across the world.

For what is a fast-moving and progressive society, breaking out into a major conflict appears rather barbaric and would quite literally destroy any momentum we have developed in resolving issues in a positive way. We cannot only point our fingers at the younger generation, being asked the question ‘would you die for your country?’ is a lot different when it becomes a reality, and I struggle to name many people that would confidently say “yes.” Conscription was of its time, a legal and compulsory initiative, but even with a choice, I’m sure many felt obliged to go to war because it was arguably the only way to resolve major conflicts at the time. Today we can and must do much better.

If a major conflict does emerge, the lack of voluntary sign-ups does then become a critical concern, and we may well see an increase in numbers, because then it has become an unfortunate reality. As mentioned before, some solutions are exposed by other nations, in Russia, they have begun to recruit prisoners into their armed forces – in no way are we suggesting following in Russia’s footsteps, but for many societies, that’s a solution they’d much rather have. We’re no experts in how to win a war, but nearly all of us would want to avoid all-out war.

Nations such as the Netherlands are experimenting with a programme allowing young Dutch people to sign up to the armed forces for a yearlong trial, instead of the regular 4 years enlistment. With it drawing 3 applicants in every position, and 625 overall applicants, it’s clearly a start into how to encourage people to join the armed forces.

There are questions of how to fill the numbers – Is it prisoners? Is it robots? Is it mercenaries?

I think the biggest point here is to not so much prioritise who’s fighting for the country, but more on the side of how to stop the need for people to fight for their country. There appears to be a slow and grisly acceptance that another world war will break out, and nations quickly taking sides as opposed to doing everything to prevent that possibility.

Leaders across the world have a huge task when it comes to these tough discussions and actions to take. I think when it comes to who will join, we need to shift our attention away from blaming and shaming the younger generation and challenging our national leaders to intervene in these explosive situations and not just take sides.

As I previously stated, the idea that our youngsters must sign up for the armed forces, today, should not need to happen. We have come so far, suffered so much just for us to destroy each other in ways that are not necessary.

History has taught us that wars are never the best way forward.

We should all want to feel proud of our country, that shouldn’t need us to die for it.


Thought of the week:

Peace only happens when we come together

Tips for becoming an A player:

  • Include those you see, and especially those you don’t
  • Always be willing to grow
  • Never complicate things for others, simplify them
  • Influence those around you
  • Create an inclusive environment for everyone


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