I’m not that interested in the “who’s to blame” question over North Korea. It’s a fair topic, but as with many such questions it’s very difficult to compare the actions of different presidents, who faced differing circumstances at differing times. It often comes down to dreaming up alternate history — asserting that the world would have been a different place had President Clinton or Bush or Carter or Reagan just done this one thing differently.
That said, there are some arguments that can be firmly put to rest.
First, let’s not lose sight of the forest while we take aim at a few trees. Who is to blame for North Korea building nukes? North Korea. And China for sheltering them, even though China itself isn’t at all happy about the nuke test.
But as far as U.S. policy, who did what? Who could have done more?