[FOUNTAIN]Broken modelsPresident Roh Moo-hyun has spoken again about former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. He remarked about Mr. Mulroney last October while hiking to Mount Bukak. He said, “Even if public opinion is negative and the leader faces strong political opposition, he must make a decision,” and mentioned Mr. Mulroney. It was right after the miserable defeat of some Uri National Assembly members up for re-election. Mr. Roh seems to think of Mr. Mulroney whenever he meets a crisis. The two have much in common. They both appeared suddenly and took grasp of power. Before becoming the prime minister, Mr. Mulroney was a lawyer specializing in labor and management. The party he served, the Progressive Conservative Party, is confusing even from its name ― is it progressive or conservative?
It is similar to President Roh, who proclaimed himself as a leftist liberal. Mr. Mulroney criticized former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who was called the best prime minister in history, calling him the coward that ruined the country.
After resigning as prime minister, Mr. Mulroney was swept up in a scandal for receiving $300,000 from an Airbus representative. He said it was a regular consulting fee and that he paid taxes. However, the Airbus representative said he did not do anything after receiving the money. After that, the Canadian press started to use the word “sleazy” to describe Mr. Mulroney.
In 2003, during his visit to China, President Roh chose Mao Zedong as a person he respects.
If he knew about the Great Leap Forward, he could not have made such a remark. Mao said steel is the rice of industry and announced plans to catch up with America’s steel industry. He was responsible for melting the farm implements of more than 100 million farmers to make steel. Due to the lack of farm implements and farmers, crops rotted in the fields. The steel they produced could be only used in making rice-cookers since it was weak. But Mao was stubborn, saying, “wise women can cook boiled rice without rice.” More than 30 million people eventually starved to death.
Why does the president choose wicked people as role models? They were tragic figures who self-destructed when driven into a corner. Democracy isn’t something that goes wrong because of one or two elections. This remark shows the vehemence of President Roh. Do the people have to chant, “we give up”? It reminds me of Andre Malraux’s remark, “When someone dreams of a person for a long time, eventually that person will resemble that person.”
by Lee Chul-ho
The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.