November 26, 2010 13:31
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is testing South Korea's mettle. His father Kim Il-sung did not hesitate to do the same thing 60 years ago with continued provocations along the 38th parallel separating the two Koreas. At an internal meeting of North Korean officials, he said, "We can achieve reunification in a month if the People's Liberation Army advances south." He then went to the Soviet Union to meet Joseph Stalin to tell him he was confident of bringing the South to its knees and left with Moscow's blessing.
If South Korea had made Kim Il-sung realize that a massive reprisal awaited him once he made the wrong move, North Korean troops would not have been able to invade the South or would have at least overhauled their war plans. History is full of cases where a failure to deal sternly with minor incursions ended up triggering a major war.
Dogs have a morbid fear of tigers but rip them to shreds once they realize they are paper tigers. The South Korean military has vowed several times to make North Korea pay double and triple the price of its provocations, but never once delivered on the promise. Kim Jong-il and his henchmen must think South Korea is a paper tiger. If the South keeps failing to respond firmly to these illegal provocations, the public will begin to develop a defeatist mentality and lose hope.
After North Korea's deadly artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island, some lawmakers are asking why the South Korean public has to prepare for war and are voicing fears that the South could end up suffering more damage than North Korea even in the event of small-scale battles. But Kim Jong-il can smell such fears from miles away, and perhaps some of these lawmakers know it.
South Korea's Gross National Income is more than 36 times greater than North Korea's, and its trade volume more than 250 times. No matter how much money North Korea tries to secretly funnel into military spending, South Korea's defense budget is still five to six times greater. But defense spending is not everything when it comes to national security. There are numerous examples in history where an economically inferior country was able to defeat a far bigger one. The most important thing is the resolve and actions a country's leader, its troops and public show in defending their homeland.
South Korea must get over the sense of defeat brought on by a lack of attention to national security and stand up again. The crimes of Kim Jong-il and his son Jong-un, who share the same blood with the man who ordered the invasion of South Korea 60 years ago, must be stopped now.
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