Obama’s missed North Korea opportunity

When I first saw this picture, reading in the New York Times how “In South Korea Visit, Obama Visits Border and Warns North,” I thought little of it, until I thought back to my earlier post on leadership opportunities for U.S. Presidents.
Obama at the Demilitarized ZoneI consider visiting a militarized border admirable and addressing North Korea important.
But standing behind bulletproof glass is nothing like the speeches of Kennedy and Reagan. Maybe North Korea doesn’t earn the same priority of the Soviet Union during the cold war, but it’s a nuclear power that no one wants to keep as is.
Times are different, of course, but the leadership opportunity remains. I’m no fan of Reagan, but even a “Mr. Kim, tear down this border” would go farther than telling North Korea

that its threats and provocations would only deepen its international isolation and jeopardize the resumption of American food aid, and he called on the North to scrap its plans to launch a satellite next month.

even if it would recall a President from the other party. It could bring him support!
Personally, I don’t find the following inspiring

Squinting through binoculars from an observation post at the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, Mr. Obama got a firsthand look at North Korea.

“They need to understand that bad behavior will not be rewarded,”

He gave a useful message, but not great leadership, in my opinion. Obama can do better.

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