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[THE FOUNTAIN] The Priest and the Cop

Mar 11,2001

For the child who does not listen and causes trouble parents can become either priests or cops. Some parents try to coax, persuade and admonish their children, whereas others choose to scold severely and cane them.

Depending on the child, persuasion may be more effective, but some parents may think that a cane is the better way. In some cases, it is more effective to mix the two methods. Whether to become priests or cops is the common dilemma for all parents whose children become troublemakers.

It is interesting to find a comparison drawn between South Korea's president Kim Dae-jung, and George W. Bush, the U.S. president, by Douglas Paal, head of the Asia Pacific Policy Center. "Bush is like a cop and Kim Dae-jung is like a priest," said Mr. Paal, who tops the list of candidates for U.S. Ambassador to Korea for his expertise on Korean issues. "The cop wants to get the North Koreans disarmed and off the streets and the priest wants to reform them, providing them with food and clothes so that they would become a very different person," he says.

It may seem to be suitable role assignments for both Mr. Kim, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year, and Mr. Bush, who served as the Texas Governor and favored a cowboy hat and boots.

The two leaders revealed great disparity in perspectives at the South Korea-U.S. summit held at the White House a few days ago. Mr. Kim tried to persuade Mr. Bush that the North has the will to transform and, in fact, shows signs of possible changes. However, Mr. Bush made it clear that he is skeptical of such perceptions.

Unless the North shows actual evidences of changes and the United States confirms them through a thorough review, the Bush administration does not plan to trust proclamations of change in North Korea.

There can not be such a large difference in principles between South Korea and the United States that they should not be able to agree on actions toward a "rogue" state in an effort to transform it into a good member of the international community. However, the methods of intervention would be different, depending on whether the role is either a priest or a cop.

At the recent summit, the Bush administration made it crystal clear that it will be a cop, putting more importance on control and punishment than persuasion and conciliation. For the cop dealing with rogue states, arms become bare necessity.

Maybe the cop believes that the existence of a so-called rogue state is useful and necessary to secure the new weapon called the National Missile Defense system.




by Bae Myung-bok




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