In This Review

Negotiating on the Edge: North Korean Negotiating Behavior
Negotiating on the Edge: North Korean Negotiating Behavior
By Scott Snyder
United States Institute of Peace Press, 1999, 213 pp

For some time, Washington has convinced itself that North Korea is "crazy." After carefully reviewing the record of Pyongyang's negotiating behavior, Snyder concludes that it is in fact rational -- and that the North Korean negotiators have "shown remarkably consistent style, behavior, and objectives in their interactions with American officials." Placing negotiating behavior in the context of Korean culture, the history of the communist regime, and Kim Il Sung's leadership style, Snyder argues that Pyongyang's practice of crisis diplomacy has paid off, especially with risk-averse Washington. The combination of toughness and brinkmanship with guerrilla tactics and outright blackmail has long worked effectively to extract concessions from richer powers. Even as the advantages have worn off, Pyongyang has perpetuated Washington's fantasy of North Korea as a dangerous "rogue state" -- a fantasy that calls for stupendous defensive expenditures and risks alienating the United States from its European allies and the Russians.