Getting to Yes in Korea

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Paradigm Publishers, 2010 - Political Science - 262 pages
Can Northeast Asia become a zone of peace instead of a short fuse to war? With threatened satellite launches and missile tests, North Korea figured early among Barack Obama's many challenges. President George W. Bush had pinned North Korea to an axis of evil but then neglected Pyongyang until it tested a nuclear device. Would the new administration make similar mistakes? When the Clinton White House prepared to bomb North Korea's nuclear facilities, private citizen Jimmy Carter mediated to avert war and set the stage for a deal freezing North Korea's plutonium production. The 1994 Agreed Framework collapsed after eight years, but when Pyongyang went critical, the negotiations got serious. Using more carrots than sticks, Washington and its four main partners persuaded Pyongyang to commit to disabling its nuclear weapon facilities. Each time the parties advanced one or two steps, however, their advance seemed to spawn one or two steps backward. The history of U.S.-North Korean relations provides important lessons for negotiators how not to deal with dangerous adversaries but also how to create accommodations useful to each side. Clemens distills lessons from U.S. negotiations with Russia, China, and Libya and analyzes how they do and do not apply to six-party and bilateral talks with North Korea in a new political era.

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Walter C. Clemens Jr.’s 'Getting to Yes in Korea' is a masterful piece of scholarship. In a mere 219 pages of vivid and absorbing prose, the author succeeds in asking, and answering, some of the toughest questions raised by North Korea’s nuclear enrichment programme, and the broader implications of Pyongyang’s military brinkmanship for peace and stability in Northeast Asia. Most impressively, the author treads where few International Relations (IR) scholars dare set foot—transcending ossified academic debates and offering original policy recommendations.
'Getting to Yes in Korea' is essential reading for IR scholars, international security experts, and time-pressed diplomats alike, as well as interested general readers. This is an extremely well-written, -argued, and -presented book, at the cutting edge of IR research and diplomatic studies, and undoubtedly one of the discipline's foremost titles of 2010. Read it.
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