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North Korea and the WorldNorth Korea and the World

Human Rights, Arms Control, and Strategies for Negotiation

Walter C. Clemens, Jr.

Narrated by Andy Rose

Available from Audible

Book published by The University Press of Kentucky

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. is associate at the Harvard University Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and professor emeritus of political science at Boston University. He 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.”


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

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University Press Audiobooks