Packback Students are Raising Questions about North Korea

Is North Korea a threat to the rest of the world?

Students on Packback Questions are curious to know after North Korea recently televised a military parade featuring missiles, marching and tanks.

Many news outlets such as CNN speculate that Kim Jong Un’s goal for the parade was to show off their military hardware “as a sign of strength and defiance to those who oppose the state.”

Source: CNN

How did students interpret it? And what other questions arose in the questioning of North Korea’s supposed show of strength?

Some great questions that came up on Packback include:

  • Should the United States continue to brush off threats made by the North Korean government?
  • Is it ethical that China engages in trade with North Korea, even though North Korea threatens the U.S.?
  • Will People of North Korea ever start a revolution?

It’s questions like this that bring out the best in us as lifelong learners, and these questions don’t have to be complicated to be highly engaging.

One student from Illinois State University simply wanted to know one thing:

For context:

“In [the] video, “What South Koreans Think Of Rising US-North Korea Tensions | ASIAN BOSS”, a YouTube channel went to the streets of Seoul to see what South Koreans think about the current political situation going on with North Korea, the United States, and South Korea. Many South Koreans in the video said that they (South Koreans) aren’t really afraid of North Korea.”

It’s interesting to see that the South Koreans in this video (although a small sample of many) show no fear towards an openly repressive regime. Does that mean United States citizens shouldn’t be afraid as well?

One student replies with:

“The issues with North Korea have become quite severe recently, but I do not believe we should be afraid of North Korea. With all of the threats made by Kim Jung Un, North Korea has never followed through with any of them. North Korea is very small compared to the U.S., and has very little support from neighboring countries. Kim Jung Un can make all the threats he wants, but the likelihood of them actually occurring is very small. Even knowing this, the U.S. is prepared for anything North Korea might do, and has several motions set in place just in case we were to ever have nuclear weapons launched at us from North Korea..”

In a well-synthesized answer, the student defends her idea on why we don’t need to be afraid. Based on history, chances are that North Korea will do nothing, but the United States is prepared for the case if it does.

And for that reason, we also have questions like this:

In imagining the hypotheticals, students touch on different subjects as well. Not only are students talking about politics, but they’re also bringing in a little science into the equation. One student had an insightful answer:

The student continues:

“The nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, did result in elevated levels on radiation on the West Coast, but it was never at a level that was hazardous to human health. If a nuclear bomb were to drop anywhere along the east coast of Asia, the effects would probably be less than that of the Fukushima meltdown because the meltdown of that nuclear power plant released far more radiation that the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Unless the bomb dropped was more devastating than the the Chernobyl or Fukushima meltdowns, then it is unlikely for the fallout to have any noticeable impact on the West Coast. However, it still impacts our health through products that originate from or are transported through the Pacific, such as Tuna fish, which would contain an elevated level of radiation, and consuming these kinds of products would cause health issues.

Overall, we should do everything possible to avoid nuclear warfare, because even if the radiation doesn’t directly reach the U.S., it is still devastating to the global environment and ruins people’s lives.”

It’s a fresh interpretation that brings together knowledge of history, science and politics. That’s how high levels of critical thought are built using Packback Questions.

When students answer questions so willingly and openly, other students get to analyze and evaluate multiple viewpoints and make their own judgments.

Additionally, by asking questions that invite challenging, interesting discussion, the students create a community of curiosity around marketing that is both engaging and fun.

We believe that with Packback Questions, these students will carry more curiosity and higher critical thinking skills into whatever they choose to pursue outside of the classroom.

Written by Evan Le

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