Panel Discussion: Armed Force in the Name of Peacekeeping?
by Esther Schiess, Abi2
The basic-level social studies classes at Salem College invited everyone to a fascinating event.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has weighed heavily on our minds and influenced our lives here at Salem College. From day to day, we were increasingly preoccupied with a growing number of questions, including whether peace may be reached, if necessary, even with force? To gain deeper insight into this matter, we grade 12 members of the basic-level social studies classes, together with our teacher Lea Schol, organised a panel discussion held on 21 June 2022.

Anne Kohlhaas and David Freuding served as moderators for the panel, which was made up of Caroline Sperling, a journalist with the regional offices of “Respekt Coaches”; Julia Mehlmann, a research fellow in the departmental section on International Security Policy at Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen; and Adrian Klein, a liaison officer with the German Federal Army. These guests presented their positions on many issues and we Abitur students in grades 11 and 12 listened with much interest. Although there was some controversy over details, the speakers were in agreement on the main issues. They all spoke out in favour of the notion that resorting to arms can be necessary to restore peace. In the current case of Ukraine, however, there should under no circumstances be an intervention by NATO. All the panel participants emphasized how important it is to keep talks open, and to not break off communication at the social level, but instead even widen it.

I followed this discussion with great interest. The topics which we had covered in lessons with Ms Schol helped me gain a greater understanding of the issues involved. I was particularly surprised that all the speakers were quick to reach agreement on important questions and spoke out clearly against third parties becoming directly involved in this conflict.