Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Katja Favretto

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© 2018 Benjamin D. Blackstone

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At the time that this thesis is printed, we are reminded of the tumultuous relationship between North Korea and the United States every day. If we follow the mainstream news regularly, it seems like we are on a steady path to war. Ultimately, this paper is centered around the question: what is the best foreign policy strategy for both countries to achieve respective goals, without descending into armed conflict? Specifically, I evaluated the failures of the last three U.S. Presidents and used their shortcomings to explain limitations in current foreign policy strategy. I also attempted to show North Korean concerns and perspectives regarding these issues, as our cultural and national biases often prevent us from seeing this issue with true clarity.

For some background, I combined personal experience with a primary source interview. I then used scholarly articles from a variety of ideological lenses to analyze events from multiple viewpoints. Throughout the paper, I try to force readers to think critically about these events, rather than consume them through short headlines on the evening news. I learned that there is major potential for diplomatic alternatives to armed conflict in this relationship. I also learned that the current foreign policy strategies both countries are engaging in do not serve their best interests, or help to achieve foreign policy goals. These ideas are crucial to understand, as the likelihood for war between North Korea and the United States becomes greater each day. Furthermore, this war would result in immense loss of life and the displacement of millions of innocent people.