[VIEWPOINT]It’s time to jettison Roh’s mistaken policiesOn Dec. 18, 1944, when World War II was at its height, the U.S. naval main task force fleet was caught in the eye of a typhoon off the coast of the Philippines due to a wrong weather forecast. The gigantic warships, shaking like falling leaves, were in danger of sinking altogether. At this time, an experienced captain of the warships gave the order to throw overboard whatever was on deck. Heavy things, including artillery and food, were thrown out.
That was the only option left to keep the warships from capsizing. Thanks to that decision, disaster was avoided, according to “The Weather Factor” by Erik Durschumied.
The English word “jettison” means an extreme measure to lighten the load of a ship by casting cargo overboard without hesitation when the ship is faced with an impending shipwreck.
The principle is to jettison everything, however expensive, except for passengers’ lives. “Jettison” is a familiar term to sailors, so much so that international marine insurance businesses have a term for the discarded cargo: “jetsam.”
Airplanes never fail to jettison aviation gasoline before an emergency landing. All fuel should be emptied to reduce the possibility of a fire or an explosion during a forced landing.
We wonder if President Roh Moo-hyun, who grew up in the port city of Busan and yachted for a hobby, knows this word.
The most crucial word that President Roh should recall at this time may be “jettison.” This is to say that he should earnestly think about an orderly retreat.
Carl von Clausewitz, a famous military strategist, said, “Retreat brings more loss of military force and equipment than the fiercest battle.”
Both the foreign exchange crisis and the credit card chaos in Korea took place during such a process of retreat in the latter part of previous administrations.
As this “participatory government” also gets close to the end of its term, all kinds of pending issues, from real estate policy to the North Korea nuclear crisis, are in a mess.
Even the president says with a sigh, “Am I ignored because my support rate is just 20 percent?”
As it has noticed the signs of an impending wreck, the governing Uri Party has gone into a repenting syndrome.
Except for the president, the captain of the ship, all seem to instinctively feel the crisis of a shipwreck.
There seems to be no other way but “jettison” to keep the “ship of Korea” from sinking.
However, the captain insists on continuing to carry heavy loads. A capable captain would not at the helm of the wavering ship, “Who knows if I will have a sunny day?”
Watching the ship, the passengers are anxious. They are more nervous than the captain over the possibility the ship might capsize.
To jettison the cargo properly, the right order is to decisively throw jetsam into the sea first of all.
We may or may not understand why the president tried to side with the construction and transportation minister and the Blue House senior secretary for public information to the end while a majority of the people turned away from them. The same goes with his pressing on with the appointment of the head of the Constitutional Court and the president of the Korean Broadcasting System.
Mistaken policies are also objects to jettison. The attachment to the engagement or Sunshine Policy, the self-reliance policy symbolized by the transfer of wartime troop control, and the dogged attempts to shape the next administration should be definitely discarded.
A truly proper jettison would be possible when the president willingly gives up even the right of personnel appointments, which is a president’s prerogative. The ship can recover to its original state when everything is cleared from the deck.
To jettison the cargo, the captain should make a resolute decision above all. But the captain still has the nerve to say, “Even North Korea’s nuclear weapons will not break the military balance. We can independently exercise wartime command right away. And we can control real estate speculation, because we are taking measures.”
Only the passengers are suffering seasickness from so much shaking. Even some governing party lawmakers who know the president well are complaining: “Because President Roh does the opposite of what people ask him to do, we’d better keep silent.”
If this is the case, then it is merely the passengers who wish for the ethic of retreat or jettison.
As long as the captain turns a deaf ear to their earnest appeals, all the passengers can do is pray. We should say the Lord’s Prayer so that the rough seas may calm down by itself:
Our President in the Blue House/After your administration has come/The housing price bubble that had formed at Gangnam area/has spread across the country./As you forgave the North’s nuclear tests/exempt us from heavy taxes/and apply the Sunshine Policy in the South as well./Lead us not into temptation/but deliver us from evil./The responsibilities and the causes are yours altogether./Now and forever./Amen.
*The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Lee Chul-ho
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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