CFR: Obama NK policy "reactive" and "half-hearted"
A new report by the Council on Foreign Relations, available here with accompanying commentary, finds that the Obama administration's policy toward North Korea's provocations has largely been "reactive" and its commitment to rolling back the North's nuclear program "half-hearted."
"Despite ... strong words, the Obama administration’s actions to
date suggest that the objective of rollback of North Korea’s nuclear
program is halfhearted," the document says. "The time frame for achieving denuclearization is so vague that there is a significant risk that 'strategic patience' will result in acquiescence to North Korea’s nuclear status as a fait accompli."
"Strategic patience" is what the Obama-ites call their own policy toward North Korea. It's essentially a deep cynicism about dealing with Pyongyang, after years of its perceived back-tracking on agreements already reached, plus provocations such as its April 2009 long-range rocket test and its second underground nuclear test in May 2009.
The report quotes Defense Secretary Robert Gates, speaking of a nuclear deal with North Korea, the Obama administration “will not buy this horse for a third time."
Still, strategic patience has not stopped the North from apparently moving ahead with its nuclear and missile programs, or its belligerent behavior, such as the unprovoked sinking of the South Korean naval ship Cheonan, the report says.
The report calls for the resumption of the Six-Party talks (which include the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States) on North Korea's nuclear weapons, but says that is not sufficient. The United States should also open bilateral talks with Pyongyang on its missile program and establish a formal dialogue with China--which has more leverage than any of the other players--on North Korea.
Hanging over all this, of course, is the ongoing succession process from North Korea's ailing "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-Il to his son.