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[Opinion] Heads of State: Failures to Perceive

Posted June. 06, 2007 03:32,   


Adolf Hitler was a megalomaniac. He attempted to be world’s emperor by spreading his power. So too did he pursue a plan called ‘Germania’ to build the world’s capital. The plan aimed to reconstruct Berlin with such buildings as a public convention hall, which could accommodate 200,000 people and that was sixteen times than Saint Peter`s Basilica in size. But his plans were not fulfilled due to his Second World War failure.

Vladimir Putin said in a press conference on June 4, “Of course, I am a pure and absolute democrat. There have been no such pure democrats in the world since Mahatma Gandhi.” Even though people can be forgiven for misunderstandings, Putin appears to have a ridiculous misunderstanding. He appointed governors elected by the public as central government officials. What is worse, he let senators be elected by an indirect system, putting them under his control. He also leveraged state-run companies to secure a large share of the Russian media, which had put strong pressure on the Kremlin.

Venezuelan president Hugo Hugo Chavez called Jesus a guiding light for his self-styled socialist revolution in his third inauguration speech this year. The ten-year president nationalized oil companies and used the money to pursue his populist policies. He justified his policies by identifying himself with Jesus. He recently provided heating oil for the poor in New York at 40 percent lower than the wholesale prices. That doesn’t justify his identification with Jesus. Moreover, he forcibly closed down private broadcaster Radio Caracas Television (RCTV) to control the media. However, he still claims that freedom of expression thrives in Venezuela.

Korean President Roh Moo-hyun said that he sometimes is considered a poor president, but he thinks he is apt at opening up to current global trends. He called his recent moves (press room closures and limits on contacting public servants) part of improving support for reporting. And he criticized those who opposed the moves for surrendering to the media’s power.

Korea’s gross domestic product (GDP) comes in at 12th place in the world. The president’s competency ranking in governing Korea is undetermined.

Lee Jin-nyong, Editorial Writer, jinnyong@donga.com