Pride cannot save the country

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Pride cannot save the country

Rep. Kim Kyung-soo of the ruling Democratic Party, who had long served as President Moon Jae-in’s aide and spokesman, recently posted an article on social media. It was written by a liberal journalist who made a realistic observation on the pitiful state of South Korea, which he claims lacks any means or strategy to protect itself against an unruly, nuclear North Korea. Kim said the article hit the nail on the head regarding President Moon Jae-in’s policies on security, foreign affairs and North Korea.

The journalist wrote that Moon is withstanding humiliation. He is kowtowing to the United States because he has to in order to ensure minimum protection from the United States against North Korean nuclear threats. He also said it was a pity to see people so gullible, leisurely talking about options that were only plausible nine years ago. Dialogue is possible and an envoy can be sent only when the other party agrees, he argued.

Linking the article, Kim pleaded to the supporters of the president, disappointed and questioning his recent policy decisions. He was referring to the voices of criticism from the base who are against Moon’s decision to install the U.S. antimissile shield. It is a relief to learn the president has eyes on the harsh reality and is making hard decisions from the mouth of a close confidant.

It is also nice to know the president is aware that today’s situation is different from the days of President Roh Moo-hyun, when he was the chief of staff. Under the previous liberal presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh, North Korea’s nuclear weapons were in the development phase. Talks about stopping and surrendering the program was possible. But today, Pyongyang has completed the weapons, and negotiations to reverse the status quo are no longer plausible. It would be more sensible for South Korea to go nuclear or bring back U.S. tactical nuclear weapons for deterrence against North Korea.

Moon has caused confusion on the security front because of his ambiguity over the installment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) anti-missile system and policy on North Korea. As result, Seoul drew mockery from Pyongyang, lost confidence from Washington and received a cold shoulder from Beijing and Moscow.

All the ambitious and idealistic rhetoric to win votes must be transformed to real and effective actions. Moon vowed that he would talk straight to the United States. But the reality is that Seoul must beg for U.S. nuclear umbrella and forces to protect the country. The president, the liberals, conservatives and the entire population must look straight into the reality. Pride and optimism cannot save this country and protect its valuable assets and people.

JoongAng Ilbo, Sept. 12, Page 34
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