[FOUINTAIN]U.S. is loaded for bear; we should listenThe strong have a different way of confronting threats than the weak do.
For instance, in a forest with bears, a man with a knife wants to avoid an encounter if he can because it is hardly possible to overcome a bear. The life of the weak is always insecure.
But a man armed with a rifle goes looking for a bear. When you have the firepower to remove the threat, you have no reason to avoid it or feel insecure. The strong are not afraid of the tension up until they meet the bear.
Neo-conservative theorist Robert Kagan described the scenario of a bear in the forest in his book, “Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order.”
Sounding the themes of America’s diplomatic and defense policymakers, Mr. Kagan called Europe a man with a knife and the United States a man with a rifle. He wrote that Europe was “entering a post-historical paradise of peace and relative prosperity, the realization of Kant’s ‘Perpetual Peace,’” while the United States continues to exercise power in the anarchic Hobbesian world. Mr. Kagan implicitly derided the Europeans for advocating the notion of perpetual peace in a world full of threats and dangers.
When President Roh Moo-hyun while on tour in Europe said that the charm of France is its pursuit of different values from America, the comment must have made the neocons a bit sour. Moreover, President Roh sounds like he was addressing the neocons when he said, “We might embarrass ourselves, if we are not in tune with the people of the country that seeks a regime change in North Korea.”
Two weeks ago, the neocons pressed the Bush administration with a statement that urged regime change in North Korea. They called Seoul a runaway ally. “Instead of appeasing South Korea’s appeasers, America should be speaking over their heads directly to the Korean people.”
Certainly, the neocon perspective is egocentric and unilateral. It is impertinent to bypass the legitimate government of an ally and directly deal with the people just because the administration has different ideas. At the same time, however, we must acknowledge the reality that the United States is the sole superpower that can eliminate bears, and the neocons have the force to move the U.S. government. The world is still a Hobbesian place ruled by power dynamics.
by Chun Young-gi
The writer is a deputy political news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.