[EDITORIALS]Can Roh do his job?In a meeting yesterday, President Roh Moo-hyun said he felt a sense of crisis and feared he would not be able to do his job. Those who heard the lamentation wondered what the country is coming to, that the president should make such a complaint after less than three months on the job.
Mr. Roh has been criticized by his supporters for his handling of the North Korean nuclear problem and a shift in his diplomacy with the United States. Labor, the teachers federation and the outlaw student group Hanchongryun ― those he has sided with ― have turned against him, and the country is embroiled in conflict and confusion.
There are things that should be said, but also things that shouldn’t. Mr. Roh’s remark may have expressed his feelings honestly, but it was inappropriate as a public declaration. It could be seen as a confession of incapability to manage crises. When he wonders if he can do his job, the people who entrusted the country to him are concerned. And will investors feel safe to put their money in such a country?
Much of the responsibility rests with the government itself. It overlooked illegal collective actions in the name of dialogue and compromise. Now, others resort to the same actions to get their voices heard ― after all, the president himself defended such actions. He has defined his responsibility as a conciliator and final mediator. But behaving like an opposition lawmaker or a presidential candidate only adds to the confusion.
The country is not operating as a seamless system. When the code of ethics for public officials took effect, Mr. Roh questioned its justification. The Human Rights Commission stated that the government’s new database, the National Education Information System, raises questions of privacy and is incompatible with the president’s philosophy. Govern-ment agencies appear to have conflicting views. It all indicates a breakdown of policy making. Part of the problem is rooted in the president’s compulsion to involve himself in every single issue. Mr. Roh ought to be careful in what he says. He should have greater confidence in the government. The president’s role is to make final decisions.
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