[EDITORIALS]Decision has been madePresident Roh Moo-hyun delivered his first state of the nation address yesterday, taking great pains to explain the background for the plan to dispatch troops to Iraq. It was appropriate that he asked for understanding and support for the deployment. The president’s effort to resolve the controversy through dialogue is a model for handling other disagreements.
What is especially notable is that Mr. Roh displayed a transformation in perception by stepping back from idealistic justifications and accepting the reality of the power game at play. He said his decision to send the troops was a strategic one based on national interest. He stressed the need to seek U.S. help in trying to resolve the North Korean nuclear problem. This is a world governed by the logic of power, and for Mr. Roh to have publicly recognized the importance of our alliance with the United States is a change from his earlier insistence on a relationship of equals.
The president also said friction between Seoul and Washington could cause investors great concern about the possibility of a war on the Korean Peninsula. He was right in concluding that sending troops to Iraq would help quell that concern. A deployment will ease concern both here and abroad about the possibility of a split in the alliance between Korea and the United States and pave the way for improved relations between the two countries. The government needs to step up efforts to mend ties with Washington so that our national interest is preserved both in terms of national security and business cooperation.
Mr. Roh also said he would make public institutions return to their inherent roles. He said there would be no more politically-motivated wiretapping and economic reform will continue. There would be no politically-driven investigations or persecution.
The National Assembly passed the resolution to send the troops to Iraq following the president’s address. The public should accept the decision for our national interest. Arguments on both sides of the issue were made for that reason. Now is the time to show national maturity and come together behind the lawmakers’ decision. Further debate on this matter would be waste of the nation’s time and energy.