Spring 2006 Course Description

Advanced Topics in Public Policy

Section Title: Strategy & Arms Control Reconsidered: Nuclear Strategy, Proliferation, & Missle Defense
Instructor(s): Francis Gavin
Course: P A 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy
(previously Seminar in Topics in Public Policy)
Unique Number: 62546
Day & Time: Tuesdays, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Room: SRH 3.101
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information

This course fulfills requirements for the following specialization(s):

Description: Arms control and nuclear policy have once again become fundamental issues in international politics and core concerns of U.S. national security policy. Post 9/11, there is great fear that terrorists and/or rogue states may use weapons of mass destruction against the United States. Nuclear test explosions by France, India, and Pakistan, the fear of loose nukes from the former Soviet Union, and the conflict between the United States and North Korea, Iraq, and Iran over their atomic program, demonstrate that the question of nuclear proliferation will only grow more important in the 21st century. President Bush's decision to transform U.S. strategy and nuclear weapons policy has been roundly criticized by the arms control community. Finally, the administration's decision to develop and deploy a ballistic missile defense system has been met with howls of protest.

Clearly, the heated discussion over arms control, strategy, and national security policy will only intensify in the years to come. Already the debate has been passionate and polarizing. How dangerous is the nuclear threat from terrorist groups and rogue states? Do nuclear arms control regimes, such as the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty and Non-Proliferation Treaty, provide for a more stable and peaceful international order? Or are these treaties relics of the cold war, as the Bush administration contends, irrelevant to the new strategy problems facing American and the world in the 21st century?

In order to understand these current debates over arms control and strategy, we must look to the past - specifically, to the policy decisions that led to the NPT, SALT, and ABM Treaties in the first place. Surprisingly, this is rarely done. There are dozens of books written on arms control and nuclear strategy during the cold war. Countless articles and editorials have been written in the past couple of years devoted to the questions of missile defense, nuclear proliferation, and weapons of mass destruction. Yet there has been no systematic effort to mine the most important archival sources on the origins of this arms control regime during the 1960's. Through their research and writing, the students in this course will help fill this void.

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