Are nuclear weapons a source of security or insecurity? How do they affect foreign policy? In nuclear states? In non-nuclear states? Can nuclear weapons be abolished? This course will address these questions. It will use readings, lectures and class discussion to help establish a depth of knowledge related to the role that nuclear weapons have played, currently play, and will play in international politics. The course will provide an overview of competing theories that have been advanced to explain the effects of nuclear proliferation and present the latest research on successful non-proliferation initiatives. Moreover, the course will assess the role nuclear weapons played during the Cold War and how they affected the end of the Cold War.
Finally, the course examines in detail current nuclear programs and doctrines in the United States, Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, India and Pakistan. It concludes with an assessment of the consequences of the demise of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) for Europe and the future of nuclear policy on the European continent. The course is designed to help students develop their critical thinking, as we will consider a number of policy debates that have emerged in the context of nuclear proliferation and nuclear strategy. The course is also designed to cultivate an ability to evaluate policy options and to communicate the strengths and weaknesses of alternative approaches. In this way, the course can help students prepare for careers as researchers (both academic and non-academic) or policy practitioners (both in the public and non-profit sectors).