Negotiation with North Korea inevitable, writes policy expert Clemens

By Rumy Doo
  • Published : Aug 3, 2016 - 17:38
  • Updated : Aug 3, 2016 - 17:38

"North Korea and the World" by Walter C. Clemens Jr. (University Press of Kentucky)

“North Korea and the World”

By Walter C. Clemens Jr.

University Press of Kentucky (443 pages, $39.95)

North Korea and its succession of unfathomable, belligerent totalitarian dictators have long presented some of the most difficult challenges to world diplomacy. In his book “North Korea and the World,” published July 22, international policy expert Walter C. Clemens Jr. poses the question, “Can, should, and must we negotiate with a regime we regard as evil?”

Clemens, an associate at the Harvard University Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and professor emeritus of political science at Boston University, concludes that we must.

The policy expert notes that the U.S. and its partners have ticked off a string of different strategies in their dealings with Pyongyang over the years, in mostly futile efforts to prevent the isolated state from chasing nuclear weapons.

Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush denounced the regime as an “axis of evil,” Clemens writes, while the incumbent Obama has called for a move of “strategic patience.”

Clemens explains that now, once again, it is time to reconsider U.S. diplomatic efforts in North Korea, especially in the face of a new presidency.

After assessing nine alternative policy options, Clemens argues that through engagement and negotiation with North Korea, it may be possible to freeze the country’s nuclear agenda. His book details how Korea was divided, how a civil war became global and the particularities of negotiating with the reason-defying nation. Unofficial translations of “secret” documents are also included.

Clemens is a policy expert and the author of books such as “Dyamics of International Relations: Conflict and Mutual Gain in an Era of Global Interdependence” and “Getting to Yes in Korea.”

By Rumy Doo (