When should a country take military action?
The debate about when – if ever – it’s permissible to engage in war has always been heated. Should a country maintain pacifism at all times? Should a country intervene in a war if it’s not directly involved? beijingkids sat down with four students from Sino Bright School to discuss the hard questions of national security, military intervention and required military service, such as the junxun (军训) program in China.
What do you know about the month-long mandatory military training in China (junxun 军训)?
Bo: I heard it’s really hard and strict.
Yue: We will go to a place and live with the military – train all day and eat with them and sleep there and have to follow all of the rules.
Mariah: I don’t know enough about this because I am from Korea.
Joy: If you go to university here, you have to do that.
Why do you think certain countries have required military service?
Mariah: They want people to be stronger and it’s a way to organize society.
Yue: I think the government thinks people are lazy and should learn how to obey rules and instructions.
Joy: They want us to know what it’s like to not live as comfortably as we do. The government wants us to be grateful for what we have.
Bo: It’s to train people mentally and physically and make them love their country.
Do you think countries should be prepared to go to war?
Joy: I think everyone should be trained for war. You can’t predict when a war will happen, so we should all be able to protect ourselves and be prepared.
Yue: The more people train for this kind of thing, the safer we are. It’s good to feel that there are millions and billions of people that are training to protect us.
Do you think mandatory military service is a good idea?
Bo: I have been to Japan, and there was no army. People trained children by sports and it was also strict, and I think that’s a good way as well.
Mariah: In Korea, all the men go to the army for two years. I think it’s a good idea because when they come back, they’ve learned many lessons from the army. Life is very organized and strict, and they learn responsibility.
When should countries go to war?
Yue: I think war is necessary if our land and people need to be protected.
Joy: I agree.
Should a country ever invade another country to help them?
Bo: If they want us to help them, I think we should. But if they don’t want our help, then we don’t have to.
Joy: If they want us to help then we should help them, but it’s their own business. They should decide for themselves, not us.
Mariah: I think we should not care about the affairs of other countries. Maybe we can help them negotiate with each other.
Should another country help if your country is in danger?
Yue: I think we can solve the problem by ourselves. We don’t need others to come in and deal with our business. We have the ability to deal with it ourselves.
Joy: If they come and try to decide what’s best for us, this could cause trouble between the country in danger and the country helping them.
Bo: I think we should ask for help if it will make wars shorter. If the war is finished faster, less people die.
Mariah: If we fight with other countries and another country helps us, then there is a possibility that the country that helped us will try to control our country after the war. In World War II, Japan invaded Korea. Other countries came to Korea to help but ultimately the other countries separated Korea into two parts. We should solve problems by ourselves.
Yue: I think war is the worst method to solve problems. It destroys our country and families; I think that we should try to maintain peace.
Yue Wang, 15, Canadian, has lived in Beijing for seven years.
Mariah Shin, 16, Korean, has lived in Beijing for two years.
Bo Qingze, 17, from Inner Mongolia, has lived in Beijing for eight years.
Joy Wang, 14, is from Beijing.