Obama's 'Strategic Patience' on North Korea Has Failed
The days of dismissing North Korean threats are over, writes House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce
April 4, 2013
There is something tragically familiar about watching history repeat itself in North Korea, where a brutal dictatorship has spent decades brutalizing its citizens, building a massive system of concentration camps, and increasingly, making war against its neighbors. North Korea's 2010 attacks killed 50 South Korean sailors and civilians. With its war rhetoric escalating, the days of dismissing North Korean threats are over.
President Obama's policy of "strategic patience" has mostly failed. While the president's belated enthusiasm for missile defense is welcome, North Korea is not a crisis we can address through conventional military deterrence or conventional diplomacy alone.
In the case of North Korea, money truly is the root of all evil. While the people of North Korea continue to starve, Kim Jong Un squanders resources on weapons of mass destruction and luxury items for the elite.
But we have found effective, nonmilitary ways to pressure North Korea, such as the 2005 sanctions against the regime's finances that brought it to the brink of financial ruin. We should also be more vocal about Kim Jong Un's deplorable treatment of his own people, and give our strong support to the United Nations commission of inquiry that will soon look into crimes against humanity in North Korea. The administration has failed to give sufficient support to broadcasting to the people of North Korea, or to explore creative ways to provide them with a free flow of liberating information.
We must be willing to apply tough financial sanctions that will deny Kim Jong Un the means to threaten us. In the longer term, the only way to achieve a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula will be to empower the people of North Korea to bring about real change.