Here’s how to help high school students love their country

Students want to understand why America intervenes militarily in other nations, when Americans would not like anyone else doing that to them.

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September 16, 2021 - 9:56 AM

People leave to board a Pakistan International Airlines plane, the first international commercial flight to land since the Taliban retook power in Afghanistan, on August 15, at the airport in Kabul on Monday, September 13, 2021. (Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

America’s schoolchildren don’t resist learning from history. Policymakers do.

President Joe Biden ended a war in Afghanistan that his three predecessors pursued (and rued) for 20 years. As a young man he criticized a war in Vietnam supported by five presidents.

High school students want to love their country. They want to understand why America intervenes militarily in other nations, when Americans would not like anyone else doing that to them. If teachers explain this carefully, they can help students become hopeful citizens and give them tools to both advocate American values and avoid war in the future. It is hard to think of a nobler goal as this school year begins.

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