Whose side is Roh on?Former President Roh Moo-hyun came to Seoul seven months after he left office and had a lot to say.
In an event commemorating the first anniversary of the inter-Korean summit meeting, he criticized the incumbent administration’s North Korea policy, U.S. policy in general and investigations into communist activities. As for North Korea’s nuclear development, the definition of the Korean War and the people’s historical view, he promoted his progressive perspective. He has created an Internet site called “Democracy 2.0” where he expresses his political opinions. Now, he gets more actively and physically involved in politics.
A former president is a senior figure and his remarks should aim for the country’s wellbeing and development.
Many former presidents or national leaders do volunteer work. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has been building houses for homeless people. Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore is devoted to the environmentalist movement. Former French President Charles de Gaulle returned to his hometown and wrote patriotic memoirs.
If a president had failed to govern the country properly and the party he led lost successive elections, he should reflect on his wrongs and be even more committed to volunteer work. Former President Kim Young-sam left office in the midst of the financial crisis and retired, rarely venturing into the public eye.
While in office, Roh made undignified remarks and he is beginning to do the same again. Recently, he officiated at a lavish wedding on a golf course owned by one of his supporters.
A former president can discuss his opinions about politics, but he should choose his words carefully.
Roh criticized the punishment handed to people who violated the National Security Law. But arrests were handled in accordance with the law, so Roh is, in effect, denying a country’s duty to execute that law.
He also raised questions about U.S. troops in South Korea and joint military drills between the South and the United States. But he overlooked North Korea’s aggressive acts against South Korea, the reason for the U.S. military’s presence here.
Does he serve South or North Korea?
Former central figures from the Uri Party formed the Democratic Solidarity. One of the members, Kim Geun-tae, the former chairman of the Uri Party, said the incumbent administration is anti-democratic and despotic.
Both Roh and Kim have lost the people’s hearts with their misrule. But as Lee’s conservative administration was shaken by the candlelight rallies, the nation’s former progressive forces pop up once again before the people, as if they haven’t done anything wrong.