The question that we must ask as Obama glides through his last few months in office is one that Ronald Reagan would want us to ask: “Are We Better Off Now Than We Were Eight Years Ago?” One thing for certain is that in one area we a definitely much worse off. That has been his policy of “strategic patience” in relation to North Korea. That has been a dismal failure. I never knew that was his policy until I read this.
I always thought strategic patience as an approach one takes when you ultimately control the outcome. It was most effective rearing young children. They have their fits and starts that often pass with time. If they persist too long or are a little too much then sometimes you need to impose sanctions like having them stand in the corner.
Of course, there is an exception to that. If you see the little toddler climbing up onto the sill of a third floor window then you act quickly. For patience there is foolhardy.
The nation using “strategic patience” as a policy when dealing with an enemy which is taking steps to improve its military ability to strike beyond its borders is foolhardy. That was the policy of France and England as Germany built its military during the 1930s. It is a policy of weakness. You cannot make nations stand in the corner when they do something that they shouldn’t. Patience there amounts to little more than “criminal malfeasance.”
When you look back one of the main reasons why Obama became president was his ability to speak and convince others. This enabled him to bring many voters over to his camp. He knew this was his main weapon. That ability along with patience (it is easier not to act) would be the tools by which he would govern. He reacted to most events by verbalizing his thoughts and then waiting for things to change. No matter what happened that was his main approach.
The other day it became obvious North Korea had exploded a nuclear weapon of much greater magnitude than before. “The United States Geological Survey reported a 5.1 magnitude earthquake that was triggered by a man-made explosion shortly after 10am Seoul time.” North Korean news announced it had developed a hydrogen bomb. Its claim was discounted by some experts. “This weapon was probably the size of the US Hiroshima bomb but this was not a hydrogen bomb. It was fission technology,” Bruce Bennett, a senior defence analyst with the Rand Corporation told the BBC. The Hiroshima bomb killed 140,000 people. Are you comforted by the idea North Korea only has an atom bomb rather than a hydrogen bomb?
Obama issued a statement after he learned of this event. It was a strange statement because the explosion was the fifth nuclear weapon explosion by the North Koreans with two coming this year. Obama said: “To be clear, the United States does not, and never will, accept North Korea as a nuclear state.”
Well said Mr. President but it is a nuclear state as everyone agrees. It has been one for a while. It is bettering its capacity with the passage of each day as you have patiently watched this development. We may not accept it but what are we going to do about it. Your “talk and wait” approach is not working.
During the strategic patience era nothing we did stopped Kim Jung-un from blithely going along improving his nuclear capability and missile deliver systems. It is clear that they are being developed in order to threaten and deter one country: the United States. Kim Jung-un has made clear who he believes is his enemy. It is not Russia or China both of whom support him. Every North Korean child is taught to hate America from the time of his birth.
This is unlike anything we have faced in decades. This is our problem. We must come up with a solution to it by ourselves. No other nation faces the danger that we do.
We know North Korea and Iran work closely together. How long will it be before it gives them a nuclear weapon? The Iran deal with the U.S. stopped Iranian development of nuclear bombs; it did not stop them acquiring them from elsewhere.
A worse scenario is North Korea providing these weapons to terrorists. The world has been kept safe from nuclear war by the mutual assured destruction idea that in a nuclear war everyone loses. Nations fear this; terrorists won’t because they have no nation to be destroyed. The more North Korea spreads the weapon around the less likely will it be attacked in return.
Obama’s response is to do what he has been doing – after telling us how evil North Korea is which makes us wonder why he hasn’t done anything other than watch it increase its capabilities – he said we will “work with the UN Security Council, our other Six-Party partners, and the international community to vigorously implement existing measures imposed in previous resolutions, and to take additional significant steps, including new sanctions,. . . “
Obama is resolved to continue to do what we have already been doing which is a complete failure. It is the same policy that gave us 9/11. This time our failure to act may result in many of our cities being turned into ashes.