Before leaving office, former President Obama warned Donald Trump that North Korea denuclearization would be the most challenging issue he’d face during his presidency.
Obama didn’t downplay the issue. According to a New York Times report from last year, the ex-president told Trump that North Korea’s nuclear proliferation would likely be “the most urgent problem he would confront.”
“Those threats are far more resilient than many experts thought, The New York Times’s reporting found, and pose such a danger that Mr. Obama, as he left office, warned President Trump they were likely to be the most urgent problem he would confront.”
But unlike Obama, Trump was able to bring the Hermit Kingdom leader to the negotiating table on Monday, and jointly sign a pledge committing to bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula.
The Obama administration’s efforts to find a solution to the North Korean issue can be summarized by basketball star Dennis Rodman, who claimed Obama “didn’t give [him] the time of day” after returning from an exclusive visit to North Korea with a message for the president.
“Obama didn’t even give me the time of day,” Rodman told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Monday. “I said, ‘I have something to say from North Korea.’ He just brushed me off.”
Dennis Rodman, who struck a personal relationship with Kim Jong Un: “Obama didn’t even give me the time of day. I said, ‘I have something to say from North Korea.’ He just brushed me off.” pic.twitter.com/RRgTdcOm7v
— BNO News (@BNONews) June 12, 2018
Many experts believe that, unlike Trump’s policy of “maximum pressure,” the Obama administration’s policy of “strategic patience” with North Korea actually resulted in the progression of the kingdom’s weaponry and nuclear capabilities.
“We used to trot out phrases like ‘strategic patience’ all the time, and then we’d giggle about it behind closed doors because these phrases don’t mean anything,” former Obama official Tom Malinowski said last August.
“One of the things I used to laugh at is that if you want to make it in foreign policy in Washington, you need to use the modifier ‘strategic’ before every mundane, meaningless concept.”