[Letters] The Korean crisis as an opportunity for strategic and effective leadership

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[Letters] The Korean crisis as an opportunity for strategic and effective leadership

Korea was again in the global headlines the past few weeks because of the North’s shelling of Yeonpyeong Island. This crisis comes immediately after the successful G-20 Summit in Seoul, which featured the Korean national brand and unique style of event organization on the world stage.

This crisis, however, could also be another opportunity to feature Korea’s success in strategic national leadership. Particularly in wartime conditions, rapid countermeasures are needed from a strategic point of view. To transform the crisis into an opportunity, I would recommend the following leadership behavior:

First, a credible plan for national security is needed to help assure the people of their safety. Part of the strategic role of national leadership is to relieve the people’s anxiety with credible assurances and evidence of security from the military defense system. There is a need to provide and announce clear plans to deal with the next attacks strongly, backed up and supported by national preparedness to deal with effects on the economy and society after using such a strong military response. Speeches are not enough.

There must be evidence of clear and definite preparedness, not only of the military and national security organizations, but also of the population. Credible and committed leadership is needed to transform this crisis into an opportunity, to make the people trust in their safety and security, as well as peace of mind.

Second, sharing responsibility for national security between the national executive, political and military leaders is important. The news indicated that politicians are busy trying to shift the responsibility to the military generals. It is important for politicians to accept their share of the responsibility and to help military leaders develop and test a strong response and security system. Solutions and guidelines are needed, not just simple criticisms.

Third, national security organizations especially the military must show their strong and adequate capacity to defend the people from future provocations. There is a big gap and loss of time between the promises and results of reform in military leadership between the sinking of the Cheonan in March, and the November attack on Yeonpyeong Island. In the meantime, the nervous and tense population demanded changes in the national defense system and military organization.

The military appears to have changed much under enormous pressure from the public to transform it to successfully guarantee our national security. Leaders of political, economic, social and national security organizations must also show that their strategies and powerful leadership for national defense are working.

The recent crisis from North Korean provocations is a chance for all Koreans to work and join efforts to strengthen leadership in national defense and security. Effective strategic leadership for national defense and security can be more powerful weapon than artillery or missiles.

Oh Ja-gyung, business student, Hanyang University Erica Campus, Ansan, Gyeonggi
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