February 9, 2016

The Washington Post: Obama-Clinton North Korea Policy “Has Failed”

Yesterday, The Washington Post destroyed the Obama-Clinton strategy of “strategic patience” toward North Korea:

President Obama’s policy since 2009, “strategic patience,” has failed. The policy has mostly consisted of ignoring North Korea while mildly cajoling China to pressure the regime.

Both China and North Korea must see that they will pay a mounting price for what, to the United States, should be Mr. Kim’s intolerable steps toward a nuclear arsenal. “Strategic patience” is no longer a viable option.

As Obama’s Secretary of State, Clinton “oversaw” the policy of doing nothing, leaving “major direct negotiations” with North Korea to special envoys. Clinton repeatedly praised the strategy, at one point saying it was “exactly what was called for.”

Critics of the policy argue that “strategic patience” allowed North Korea “to ramp up its missile and nuclear programs unimpeded.” Harvard nuclear non-proliferation expert Matthew Bunn gave a damning review as well:

In my view, ‘strategic patience’ was a polite term for sitting back and watching while North Korea continued to build up its nuclear weapons program,’ said Matthew Bunn, a nuclear non-proliferation expert at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

In addition to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s report today that North Korea had restarted a plutonium reactor, North Korea launched a long-range missile this past weekend following a nuclear test in January. This activity is just the most recent in a repeating cycle of failure that characterizes Clinton’s policy toward North Korea as Secretary of State.