In the waters off their southern coast, Korean fishermen last week snared a giant sea turtle—5 ft. long, perhaps 1,000 years old. They poured three crocks of wine down its gullet, sent it off to Seoul's zoo.

Korea's President Syngman Rhee hailed the catch. "It's an omen for the nation," he proclaimed. "The turtle is our symbol of longevity and prosperity."

Koreans knew their leader had the present and the past in mind. In 1949 Korea is menaced by Communist aggression. In 1592 Korea was menaced by Japanese aggression. Then, their valorous Admiral Yisunsin built the world's first armor-clad ships. Shaped...

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