Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I have not said much about our (Friends) from the north's stoopid missle test because I was wating for someone in the Korean media to say something about it, well he did and I agree with him.

Better Safe Than Sorry by Kim Dae-joong

The Roh Moo-hyun administration is rather angry at criticism that it glossed over the North Korean missile crisis. "Why should we make the people feel uneasy by convening a dawn meeting?" officials ask. Their opponents, they say, are building a "security dictatorship." This is audacity on a grand scale. As Cheong Wa Dae rightly notes, our military governments in the past often fomented a siege mentality by fabricating threats of an invasion from the North to get at the opposition. But now the presidential office accuses opposition parties and the press of running a "security dictatorship" by "fanning a crisis” and “making a fuss about nothing."

The differences are clear. Information about security in the past was thoroughly closed to press and opposition. That is what allowed the administration to deceive the public by inflating security threats and sometimes fabricating events. But a great deal of security information is open to the public today, so the government can no longer so easily cover it up or exaggerate it. What's more, the public knows how serious the North Korean missile crisis is, what it signifies and why this government is protecting North Korea. In the way the Roh administration is accusing press and opposition of being animated by “the ghosts of security dictatorship," we can sense a profound unease: because it is the Roh administration that is building a new kind of security dictatorship.

It should also be pointed out that national security is a question of dealing with a 1-percent, nay a 0.01-percent possibility. War or violent provocation do not come easy; some countries enjoy peace for hundreds of years. Nonetheless, most countries spend about 3 percent of their GDP on defense. In terms of pure numbers, that is a foolish investment. Still, they make these efforts for their security because if an emergency did happen, it could cost them their sovereignty.

Security must ever tip toward excess rather than thrift. We should make a fuss over the faintest bump in the night. It is for this reason that the press in the U.S. and Japan -- perhaps because they may find themselves be the target of North Korean missiles -- got over-excited, treating the crisis as top news for over a week and looking into all kinds of possibilities. Members of the Roh administration seem to be short on sense about security, probably because they do not regard North Korea as a potential attacker. It is quite natural, therefore, that they hate the U.S., Japanese and South Korean press while being sanguine about the missile crisis.

The Roh government accuses the U.S., Japan and opponents here of making political capital of the missile crisis. If the North's missile tests were non-military actions, and “did not target any country," as the Roh government maintains, what was their point? Naturally, they were political. Even Cheong Wa Dae said they were "political events.” It is self-contradictory then to accuse other countries of using them for political purposes. Saying North Korea's political maneuvers are fine but moves by its potential victims are bad because they are political shows how pro-Pyongyang this administration's thinking is. In that sense, Cheong Wa Dae’s response to the missile crisis is evidently "political." The difference, if there is one, is that the maneuvers of others are abuses, but ours are for a good cause.

Even if North Korea’s display of military power is politically packaged, we should be on the alert. An examination of the specifications of the North’s missiles suggests that, assuming Pyongyang has any political sense, they target neither the U.S. nor Japan. The remaining target is the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. Kim Jong-il is neither so stupid nor so reckless as to provoke a world war. His gamble is always toward localized warfare. What South Korea must fear and guard against is a local war. That is the message the missiles send. Instead, the Roh administration accuses those who worry about that possibility of forging a security dictatorship and insists it will go slowly.

Things are becoming clearer. The people can no longer sustain their trust in the Roh administration's security consciousness. As far as the potential threat from the North is concerned, it is becoming dangerous to entrust the government with our security. Members of the government pretend not to realize that, far from making them uneasy, it reassures people when they see their leaders convene a dawn meeting and cope with developments the moment they arise. Better a security dictatorship than a cavalier or go-slow attitude to security.

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