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North Korea and the World: Human Rights, Arms Control, and Strategies for Negotiation

by Walter C. Clemens Jr.

Availablecloth$39.95x 978-0-8131-6746-6
Asia in the New Millennium
464 pages  Pubdate: 07/22/2016  6 x 9  16 b&w photos, 4 maps, 5 figures, 5 tables

With nearly twenty-five million citizens, a secretive totalitarian dictatorship, and active nuclear and ballistic missile weapons programs, North Korea presents some of the world’s most difficult foreign policy challenges. For decades, the United States and its partners have employed multiple strategies in an effort to prevent Pyongyang from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Washington has moved from the Agreed Framework under President Bill Clinton to George W. Bush’s denunciation of the regime as part of the “axis of evil” to a posture of “strategic patience” under Barack Obama. Given that a new president will soon occupy the White House, policy expert Walter C. Clemens Jr. argues that now is the time to reconsider US diplomatic efforts in North Korea.

In North Korea and the World, Clemens poses the question, “Can, should, and must we negotiate with a regime we regard as evil?” Weighing the needs of all the stakeholders—including China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea—he concludes that the answer is yes. After assessing nine other policy options, he makes the case for engagement and negotiation with the regime. There still may be time to freeze or eliminate North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction.

Grounded in philosophy and history, this volume offers a fresh road map for negotiators and outlines a grand bargain that balances both ethical and practical security concerns.

Walter C. Clemens Jr., associate at the Harvard University Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and professor emeritus of political science at Boston University, is the author of many books, including Dynamics of International Relations: Conflict and Mutual Gain in an Era of Global Interdependence and Getting to Yes in Korea.

An important and comprehensive commentary on the present status of North Korea and its relations with the world, and the United States in particular. It argues against continued reliance on the tried and not-so-successful policy of containment that the U.S. and the West have employed against Pyongyang since the end of the Korean War, concluding that yes, sometimes we must negotiate with evil, because the alternatives are in this case too unpleasant to contemplate. -- Gregory J. Moore, editor of Korean Nuclear Operationality: Regional Security and Nonproliferation

Clemens’ book is an appeal for common sense and objectivity when dealing with North Korea and, by implication, other U.S. adversaries. It is a densely researched study that reflects not only the author’s previous work on North Korea but also his wide-ranging other scholarship on Russia, complexity science, and international relations generally. -- Mel Gurtov, author of Pacific Asia: Prospects for Security and Cooperation in East Asia

The author excels in applying the philosophy of humanity and morality to the dire situation of North Korea as well as comparing and contrasting other troublesome nations, such as Iran. The book strikes readers with its thorough, persuasive, comprehensive, insightful perceptions. As an issue-focused volume, the study is of great interest to negotiators and diplomats, government officials, and students and scholars of Korean politics and North Korea studies. -- Choice

North Korea and the World is essential reading for those pondering the reasons for the endless frustrations of U.S.-DPRK relations. Clemens, relying on many decades of thoughtful reflection about the complexities of global diplomacy, especially U.S.-Soviet relations during the Cold War, has written a masterful study useful for policymakers, scholars, and laymen alike. -- Journal of American-East Asian Relations

[Clemens] intertwines concepts of humanity and social obligation into the hot-button conversation of a nuclear-armed North Korea and discusses how not only the United States but also regional actors and powers should deal with the situation. In the end, he offers several options to deal with North Korea in the future. -- H-Net Reviews

Walter Clemens, an Associate at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, offers a deep and thorough survey of how the past in North Korea has conditioned the present, and offers perspectives on future US policy toward Pyongyang. Although almost 450 pages—60 pages of notes—this book is so well researched and written that it reads like a Tom Clancy novel.

This book is for policymakers and all Americans concerned about a belligerent, insecure and impoverished nation that is developing weapons of mass destruction that may soon be capable of annihilating a major American city in less than an hour at the push of a button. Therefore, this volume is well worth our attention. -- North Korean Review

As international concerns over North Korea mount daily, one finds in this critical text an expansive, almost holistic, approach to dealing with a recalcitrant Pyongyang. Although Walter C. Clemens Jr. tackles the serious subjects of his subtitle—human rights, arms control, and negotiation strategy—he broaches many more and, fundamentally, the existential crisis of negotiating with evil. -- Political Science Quarterly