By demanding that North Koreans take denuclearization steps before talks that would focus on denuclearization, it put the onus for talks on the authoritarian state, thereby buying them time to creep towards strengthening its nuclear arsenal.
“Given that North Korea equates its nuclear weapons with the survivability of its regime, it is extremely unlikely that Pyongyang will take steps toward denuclearization absent assurances of the state’s security,” said Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association. “The overthrow of Qadhafi, several years after Libya gave up its nuclear program, likely increased North Korea’s concerns that absent a nuclear deterrent, its regime would be at risk.”…
Every nuclear nonproliferation expert The Daily Beast spoke to pointed at the White House and the National Security Council as the main driver of the ‘strategic patience’ strategy.
“I believe the initial thinking on strategic patience came from the White House,” Davenport said. Snyder added, “It is hard for me to attribute authorship for policies on foreign affairs issues like this one to anyone but the White House/NSC. If you were observing DPRK policy in 2009-2011, you would not be focused on State.”