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Monday, June 27, 2016

US-Todays young people are pro-military—not necessarily pro-imperialism

When I was growing up in the 1960s and the 1970s the military was looked down on. I went from high school to college, to my early adult life and the military was "NOT COOL." Peace and non-violence was the in thing. Few people I knew joined the military and most of my friends had no interest.
Today is different. I recently read this article in The Wichita Eagle, called "Deaf teacher's quest for armed service inspires students." It seems deaf young people, as with a lot of young women, are demanding they be allowed to serve in the military, equaly.
And recent articles have proved that young people today think the military is the place to be...or at least admire. According to Pew Reaserch Center, Most young people today FAVOR going to war in Iraq to stop ISIS (Islamic State). For example; just 39% of those ages 65 and over felt it was right to go to war, while 50% said it was wrong. About 69% of those under age 30 are in favor of taking military action in Iraq. So no longer is it trendy to opose war. This is real odd considering this same milenial class of young people are supporting Bernie Sanders for president and are not afraid of the word "socialism." They seem farther to the left and yet they are staunch supporters of US imperialism.

"In The Wichita Eagle article I found some of the opinions rather desturbing. For example; "They're not taking us seriously," said Cadet Jennida Willoughby, 16, through a sign-language interpreter. "We're going to keep fighting back....."
....But Willoughby, an accomplished scuba diver, dreams of becoming a Navy SEAL."

My father once told me that Green Barettes and such outfits as the SEALs often take in people who are not really fit for civilian life, or civilized life. "They are dangerous people" he said. And these dangerous people are tought to destroy human life in the most stealthy and efficient way. So why would anyone want to be such a dangerous war lord. Such people literally seem scary to me.
There are other differences today. Young people today have much more faith in the United Nations as an international body of good influence. They seem to trust international movements and institutions. They also favor a more cooperative approach to foreign policy.
Although the seem to love the military there are some serioius contridictions. One important thing to notice is that they are less concerned about the US maintaining its superpower status. This is both surprising and ads some hope for the future. The US today is a bully power. While we hear our elected leaders and their supportive pundits talk about a nation that honors diversity, in foreign affairs the US is a major enforcer of a uniform world order that allows anything except diversity. No one is allowed to follow an ideology that does not endorse the so-called "free market." It is true this country seems at odds with fundamentalist Islam, but the underlying problem is always a threat to the US, its access to resources, such as oil, and the right or ability to trade and foster a free market atmosphere. Those, such as Maoist, or even modest anarchist style collectivism as is practiced by the Kurdish PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party), can not be tolerated at all.
The US uses such terroristic tactics as drone assassinations, Air strikes using high tech gadgetry far beyond other nations and the imprisonment of prisoners of war in Guantanamo Bay where the inmates are denied any form of due process.
Other points the Pew Research Center made include young people being more concerned about “Helping improve the living standards in developing nations,” about 10 percent more so than their elders. This is important because many US conflicts are happening because of an inequity between the undeveloped nations that lag so far behind in needed development and the arrogance of the most economically developed country in the world refusing to share their wealth.
And the young prefer diplomacy over military strength. So it seems they have some sense that imperialism is a bad choice, but they don't always recognize it in its many forms and ways to avoid it. Other observations of the Pew Research Center article:

"The youngest Americans generally prefer effective diplomacy over military strength as the best way to foster peace – but are not notably opposed to using military force in specific circumstances. Who, then, are the hawks and who are the doves? And if the young support international engagement only when problems at home have been addressed first, but want to work with allies through international institutions, while older generations see global affairs as more important but see America’s interests taking priority over international cooperation, who are the isolationists and who are the internationalists?"

So on one hand I have problems with the pro-military slant of young people and those who want to be a part of it. Young people oppose ISIS and they seem to feel there is no reason not to "kick the bad guys ass." But they do posses a sense that this country needs to treat the rest of the world more fairly. And they seem to realize we are better off if we share some of our resources. So maybe there is some hope for the next generation if some of us can clear up the confusions.
 - សតិវ​អតុ

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