Over the weekend, North Korea attempted to launch a rocket – and it failed comically. Nonetheless, Vice President Mike Pence announced that the era of “strategic patience” is over. Colorado’s U.S. Senator Gardner praised the move, saying that “The Vice President’s visit to the Korean Peninsula should be a stern reminder to the madman in Pyongyang that the United States will not sit idly by while he tries to hold the world hostage with his illicit arsenal of mass destruction.” Gardner was an early voice in calling the strategy an epic failure. Here’s what Gardner said about then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “strategic patience” (read: do nothing) initiative in a 2015 Wall Street Journal op-ed:
“The Obama administration’s policy toward North Korea—once described by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as “strategic patience”—has been a strategic failure. We cannot stand by as the Kim regime builds its arsenal, intensifies its cyberespionage and tortures its own people.
“It is time to ratchet up the pressure. That is why I’ve introduced the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act. This bill would require the president to impose sanctions on people who have contributed to North Korea’s nuclear program, enabled its human rights abuses, and engaged in money laundering, counterfeiting or drug trafficking that benefits the regime.”
In case you aren’t an expert on foreign affairs and don’t actually know what “strategic patience” is, here’s the definition from the Council on Foreign Relations: “a policy that suggested that the United States could afford to wait for North Korea to make its decision to denuclearize.” In other words, like we noted above, just do nothing. But we’re done standing idly by and this is a warning not to mess with us. Because, you know, our rockets actually launch.