APSN Banner

Narrow nationalism

Tempo - August 29, 2020

Jakarta – The government plans to provide military education for university students. It is claimed this will increase their love for the country.

IT is too shallow to assume that military education for university students will increase their love for the motherland. Love for the nation will grow much faster with the implementation of clean governance. Therefore, the plan by the ministry of defense to hold military education should be abandoned.

The plan for military education for university students was suddenly conveyed by Deputy Defense Minister Wahyu Sakti Trenggono. He stated that he would involve the minister of education and culture in the organization of the military program that students could participate in voluntarily. Like on the job training, the score for military training would be included in the overall GPA. The ministry of education surprisingly welcomes this idea and follow it up, without a proper pedagogic assessment.

The plan has at least two problems. From the procedural side, Wahyu Sakti did not provide any strong supporting arguments. He used the young generation of South Korea, which loves its culture, including K-pop music, as an example. Using that argument, he even stated the need for Indonesian own conscription as a national defense program. This is a flawed argument because the rise of music and films in South Korea is not simply because of the conscription there.

Moreover, from the substance side, there is no urgent need for military education for students here. Indonesia is not a nation under threat from outside such that it needs reserves ready for use at any time. Indonesia is not the same as South Korea, which faces constant threat of war and therefore needs compulsory military service.

Developed nations have abandoned conscription because they do not need it. Of the 27 members of the European Union, 21 of them no longer have it. Most of the members of NATO are the same. And of the 193 members of the United Nations, only 35 nations still provide military education for civilians.

The establishment of a reserve through military education has the potential to bring about a new problem. The side effects of the militarization of civilians could be difficult to avoid. If the nation fails to control them, these military-trained civilians could easily join criminal gangs or terrorist groups.

The plan for military education for students also shows a narrow nationalistic viewpoint. Wahyu Trenggono is behind the times when he said he wants young people to be creative and innovative in loving their nation by joining the reserves. Nationalism and patriotism do not have to be realized by military methods.

Nationalism can be shown in many ways. For example, people can contribute by working in the social, education or cultural sectors. New nationalism should mean a person is willing to work hard and make sacrifices for the advancement of their nation.

The government should completely forget all proposals and activities to train civilians for combat. It should focus on increasing the ability and professionalism of the Indonesian Military (TNI). Last but not least, military education for students could bring about a revival of militarism, which would be an irony at a time of civil leadership.

Read the Complete Story in Tempo English Magazine: https://en.tempo.co/read/1380521/%20https:/magz.tempo.co/read/36979/narrow-nationalism

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1380521/narrow-nationalism