One of the severest problems the current government has is its lack of serious approach to the national security issues. A government that generally regarded as conservative like the current one usually takes great care of national security—of course they do for they are conservative! National security would be definitely their No. 1 agenda—until the coming of this government.
As far as I remember, the first heavy blow to the high-ranking military officers who were expecting uplift was the case of theLotte World Tower. Lotte’s phallic aspiration to build, in Seoul, one of the tallest buildings in the world (it would be the fourth in the world, if things go as planned) was soon confronted with opposition of the Air Force, arguing that such a tall building might jeopardize the security of the aircraft that take off from and landing to the Seoul Airport, at which most of the VIPs visiting SK land. The military came to find out how much business-friendly the President is. The Seoul Airport has to rebuild its airstrip with an altered angle in order to minimize—still there are opinions contending that it will be still dangerous even if the angle of the airstrip is altered—a risk.
The most controversial case was the confrontation between the minister and the vice-minister of the MoD, over a budget issue, in 2009. This case presented a serious incompetence of the current government in civil control of the military. A retired army general recently said in a debate, which was held by the Defense 21+, that this alone should lead to impeaching the President.
The lack of seriousness in the national security issues continues. The MoD announced that the government plans to shoot down the NK rocket, which is planned to be launched in the next month. Anyone who possesses the least the knowledge of the current air defense system in SK would say it is ridiculous plan. Even if we can “hit a bullet with a bullet,” the government ought to consider and adjust the level of speech in case of the missing. There is no way that the idea came from the military—they are not that out of mind to bet on the obviously losing side.
So, why would the government do such a risky betting? Kim Jong-dae, the editor in chief of the Defense 21+ told me that we should turn to what the government was telling us before the announcement. Just before the visit of the POTUS, government was raising the issue of revising the missile range pact, which limits SKorean ballistic missile’s maximum range to 300km, but there were no actual discussions concerning the revision after the summit meeting—and the President Obama politely evaded the issue. As we saw, there were no discussions beforehand, the basic basic of diplomacy and it was a cheap, frivolous trick for the general election.
After having failed to induce a meaningful discussion from the US, the government finally overreached itself to make up by the announcement but the government will end up itself into a deteriorated situation, said Mr. Kim.
It is unlikely for the military to succeed to intercept the NK rocket and, due to the frivolous announcement, the military and the government couldn’t avoid a massive rebuke from all the nation. In my guess, there lies a possibility for NK to move up the launch date in order to affect the result of the general election. Usually the NK issues were exploited by the conservative governments to affect the voter’s mind and rig the polls but this time is different. The government is too incompetent in everything, even the panic button of all the conservative regimes is useless for them.