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Aleydis Nissen in The Diplomat on BTS and mandatory military service

K-pop band BTS joining the Korean military is a compulsory obligation, one with increased meaning as tension builds on the Korean Peninsula and around the world, postdoc Aleydis Nissen writes in an article in The Diplomat.

Aleydis Nissen

Aleydis Nissen a postdoc researcher on the project Institutions for Conflict Resolution at Leiden Law  School. In the article in The Diplomat, Nissen and co-author Brandon Valeriano (Cato Institute) point out what mandatory military service means in today's world.

'BTS’s contribution to the defence of Korea might be minimal in material fact, but their service will likely result in a massive boost in national pride and natural enlistments, demonstrating a very different form of the Korean cultural wave, Hallyu. The soft power of cultural attraction offered by K-pop will transform into something very unique when directed domestically.'

Even Germany has restarted conversations about mandatory military service in light of the war in Ukraine, Nissen and Valeriano say. 'While the world has been focused on Russia, North Korea increases its belligerence and seems closer than ever to resuming testing nuclear weapons while increasing ballistic missile tests.'

With both positive and negative impacts, mandatory military service can transform and divide a nation at risk. In any case, national service is not an antiquated notion given the realities of geopolitics, according to the authors.

Read the full article here.

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