President Trump Friday said that “patience is over” with North Korea, suggesting he is going to take tougher measures with Pyongyang without saying what those measures are.
Trump spoke during an appearance in the Rose Garden with South Korean President Moon:
The nuclear and ballistic missile programs of that regime require a determined response. The North Korean dictatorship has no regard for the safety and security of its people or its neighbors and has no respect for human life. Millions of north Korea’s own citizens have suffered and starved to death. The entire world just witnessed what the regime did to our wonderful Otto Warmbier. I thank President Moon for expressing his condolences on the travesty of Otto’s death. Our thoughts and our prayers remain with his wonderful family. The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed. Many years, and it’s failed. And frankly, that patience is over.
I’m concerned that foreign policy seems to be getting driven in part by “beautiful babies” in Syria and “our wonderful Otto Warmbier.” While what has been done to both the former and the latter is abhorrent, we need to make foreign policy based on our national security interests.
We seem to be increasingly pulled into the byzantine Syrian quagmire, and another endless Middle East war is the last thing we need. And Otto Warmbier made a fatal decision, his own decision, to go to North Korea. I personally feel tremendous sorrow about what happened to him, especially having had a lot of dumb ideas myself, but we need to approach North Korea in a very cold-blooded fashion.
Nevertheless, Trump is right on the policy. North Korea will eventually become an existential threat to the United States. We need to do everything we can with sanctions, isolation, assassination, destabilization, cyberwarfare, and whatever else we can try to destroy the regime there that threatens us.
But if those things don’t work, as bad as the option is — and I get how bad it could be — we have to use military force. We have to do what Bill Clinton should have done and failed to do when we could still have prevented a nuclear North Korea.
It’s just, unfortunately, the bottom line.