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. Each time the parties advanced one or two steps, however, their advance seemed to spawn one or two steps backward. Clemens distils lessons from U.S. negotiations with North Korea, Russia, China, and Libya and analyses how they do-and do not-apply to six-party and bilateral talks with North Korea in a new political era.