Will teens be drafted to fight a new war?

Sunday , May 13, 2018 - 12:00 AM

SCOTT SWAIN
TX. Correspondent

Just like Utah is overdue for an earthquake, the world is overdue for a world war, and a rise of tension in foreign affairs in recent years may lead to this very war.

As someone about to turn 18, I am terrified that this war will begin within the next couple of years, because I have no desire to get caught up in that mess, whatever it may be.

Since the end of World War II, the United States and Russia haven’t been on the best of terms. After the 45 years of the Cold War, along with armed conflict that wasn’t so cold in places like Korea and Vietnam, tensions died down considerably when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. In the almost 30 years since then, relations with Russia have been touch and go.

Just a few years ago, in 2014, a conflict over the possession of Crimea between Russia and Ukraine led to a series of sanctions against Russia. Even more recently, Russia has been accused of interfering with the 2016 U.S. election, and President Donald Trump has responded by placing more sanctions on high-level Russian officials.

Whether or not these recent restrictions will be effective is unclear, but the action does show that relations aren’t as good as we would like them to be with Russia.

Another potential threat of war is the Middle East. The U.S. has had conflict there since a series of crises in the ’70s, including problems with OPEC and the Iran hostage situation. Terrorist organizations based in the Middle East have been on our radar as a threat to security since they began to become prevalent in the late 20th century.

Also, groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS have gained supporters through a hatred of Western culture, and through attacks like 9/11, they have received the global attention they desire.

The Middle East has been in a constant state of chaos for quite some time, and it doesn’t appear to be dying down any time soon. The problems extend far beyond terrorism. The Middle East has other points of interest, such as its dominance in the oil industry and the importance of the area to many world religions. Israel has often been the center of wars for centuries and today faces the pressure of the Middle East calling for its destruction. It has become increasingly chaotic as foreign powers, such as the U.S., Russia and China, have taken interest in the region.

But the most dangerous threat to the United States is China.

With China having the largest standing military, the largest labor force and the second-biggest economy, it is no longer certain which country would win if we ever went to war. Relations aren’t great, especially in terms of economics. Recently the president has placed restrictive tariffs against China, to which it retaliated with tariffs against the U.S. These actions may lead to a trade war.

Although the tariffs currently seem to be our biggest concern in regards to China, new problems could arise at any time that could alter our relations drastically.

North Korea has been making threats against the U.S. for a long time. When the country was split between the communist north and the democratic south, the United States allied with South Korea as part of the fight against communism. Since then North Korea has fostered a hatred of the U.S. and Western culture, similar to what many countries have done in the Middle East. And there have been many threats of nuclear attacks in the last decade.

However, on April 26, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shook the hand of President Moon Jae-in of South Korea and stepped across the border into South Korea — the first time any North Korean leader has done so since the start of the war. The two leaders have made resolutions to finally end the war and demilitarize the peninsula.

We can only hope that it sticks.

Even if the U.S. goes to war in the next several years, it is unclear who would be drafted. War has changed since the last world war. It’s a lot less personal with the implementation of new technologies, such as drones and nuclear weapons, in addition to the improvement of old weapons. Some theorize that the next war may be fought in space with the use of satellite technology.

The United States has had problems with drafts in the past, such as riots in New York during the Civil War and the national backlash against the Vietnam War. With these things in mind, the draft may not include every able-bodied young man, as the United States wouldn’t need all that manpower.

As always, politics are complicated and there’s no way of saying what will happen. My hope, along with the hope of everyone else, is that we can maintain the peace we have now as long as possible.

Scott Swain is a junior at Davis High School. He plays marimba in the marching band and enjoys cinematography. Email him at 19sswain@davis.k12.ut.us.

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