Abstract

Positive inducements as a strategy for dealing with regimes that challenge core norms of international behavior and the national interests of the United States (“renegade regimes”) contain both promises and pitfalls. Such inducements, which include policy concessions and economic favors, can serve two main purposes: (1) arranging a beneficial quid pro quo with the other side, and (2) catalyzing, via positive engagement, a restructuring of interests and preferences within the other side's politico-economic system (such that quid pro quos become less and less necessary). The conditions for progress toward either purpose can vary, as can the requirements for sufficient and credible concessions on both sides and the obstacles in the way of such concessions. For renegade regimes, a primary consideration involves the domestic purposes that internationally objectionable behavior can serve. An examination of the cases of North Korea, Iran, and Libya finds that negative pressures have been relatively ineffective, suggesting that more attention should be given to the potential for positive inducements to produce better outcomes.

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