Spring 2008 Course Description

Advanced Topics in Public Policy

Section Title: Nuclear Politics and Policies
Instructor(s): Francis Gavin
Course: P A 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy
(previously Seminar in Topics in Public Policy)
Unique Number: 64255
Day & Time: Wednesdays, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Room: SRH 3.103
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Notes: Cross list with LAW 379M

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?

This course will wrestle with these critical issues by looking not just at the present and future, but also the nuclear policies of the past. A research paper will be required, and if the student chooses, it can be based on archival materials from the LBJ library. There will also be policy simulations and other interactive exercises.

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