[Viewpoint] Ahn’s not ready for president

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[Viewpoint] Ahn’s not ready for president

“Challenge takes effort, but I have no fear,” wrote Professor Ahn Cheol-soo in his book, “Ahn Cheol-soo’s Thoughts” published on July 19. Politicians consider it an announcement of his candidacy, and the book attracted great media attention. It saw record sales in a limited amount of time, selling eight copies every minute. Are the readers interested in the contents of the book or do they want to find out if he is really running for president?

Professor Ahn has been offered a political career many times. The Grand National Party asked him to run as its candidate for mayor of Seoul in 2006, and the Roh Moo-hyun administration offered him the post of Minister of Information and Communication and Blue House secretary. Parties also asked him to run for the National Assembly. But every time, he said that he was not good at politics and did not enjoy authority and turned it down. He first showed interests in politics during the Seoul mayoral election, and now he is considered one of the most promising presidential candidates.

Ahn expressed a clear view as a politician. “I oppose the current administration, which goes against the flow of history, to have any political expansion. If I choose a path, the most important direction of my path would be opposing the political expansion of the Lee Myung-bak administration and the Grand National Party.” He denounced the distinction between progressives and conservatives and claimed to be “conservative in North Korean issues and progressive in educational issues.”

“Ahn Cheol-soo’s Thoughts” is divided into three chapters, “My Concerns, My Life,” “Dream of a Realist” and “The Ailing World Seen by the Computer Doctor.” On the sinking of the Cheonan, he wrote, “Although I trust the government’s explanation, their attitude of ignoring different opinions aggravated the situation.” Thus he was accused of supporting the pro-Pyongyang faction. Critics say that if someone with a pro-Pyongyang tendency becomes president, he would not be able to deal with Kim Jong-un.

Do the actions of Professor Ahn show his sincere motivation to run for president? Are people convinced that he would make a successful president? Ahn Cheol-soo’s software programs are known for their excellence. However, they are not the best in the world. The U.S. Cyber Command, which is considered the most powerful cyber special forces, can destroy any computer network if it wants to, penetrate into any computer at any time and disable any command system with any security features. Shouldn’t Ahn become the best in his field first?

National administration is a war. Simply speaking, he is a former doctor who runs a computer anti-virus company that is not the best in the world. All he has done in his life is hold youth concerts to share the pain of young people. Can these experiences be enough to make him the president of the Republic of Korea, which must wage the wars of ideology, economy and welfare all at the same time?

If he dreams of becoming president, he should not be holding a publishing party. He should visit the National Cemetery, Panmunjeom and the Yeonpyeong Island and Cheonan memorials. He needs to travel to the Dokdo islets, the symbol of national security for the Korean Peninsula.

Professor Ahn is undeniably a rare talent in Korea - but this may not be his time. Professor Ahn should cooperate with the next president, who has solid sense of mission on national security, and accumulate experiences as an ambassador to the United Nations, the United States, China, Russia or the European Union. Then he may serve as the Prime Minister. He is still very young. Then, he would become a successful and prepared president, the first one to be aware of the next paradigm and reality of global competition in history.

If Professor Ahn’s objective is the post of the president itself, just like existing politicians, he would run for president this year. But if he wants to succeed as a president, he should wait and bid for the next term. He should keep away from those urging him to make a run for president this time. He should meet with more specialists regardless of their distinction as progressives or conservatives.

He should not be dreaming all by himself.

Translation by the Korea JoongAng Daily staff.

* The author is a professor of law at Dongguk University.

by Han Hee-won
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