How do we keep the world safe in a nuclear age?
Third edition. March 2013.
Today, the world faces many complex challenges. Climate change, terrorism, and international pandemics crowd the headlines of the newspapers. For many, understanding the challenges facing the world is overwhelming. Perhaps no issue can seem more overwhelming than nuclear weapons. We can see the results of terrorism, environmental issues, and disease, yet for most of us nuclear weapons remain out of sight and out of mind. For many, the abstract theories and jargon that surround nuclear weapons combined with the nearly unimaginable consequences make thinking about the challenges of nuclear weapons difficult.
The Challenge of Nuclear Weapons gives students the tools they need to wrestle with the questions that surround the future of nuclear weapons.
The readings introduce students to the history of nuclear weapons and the concept of deterrence. Students will examine some of the arguments for and against nuclear weapons and then look at three challenges: (1) the leftover arsenals of the Cold War, (2) proliferation, and (3) the threat of nuclear terrorism.
Portrayals of the Soviet ThreatStudents examine the Soviet threat as it was perceived during the Cold War.
Fifteen MinutesStudents stage a fictional depiction of presidential decision making during the minutes before a potential nuclear attack.
Role-Playing the Three OptionsWorking cooperatively to present different policy options for the United States to an undecided group of senators, students are able to clarify and evaluate alternative policies concerning nuclear weapons.
Morality and DeterrenceStudents begin to understand the complex moral conundrums associated with nuclear weapons through examination of a well-used analogy for deterrence.
Film and Nuclear WarStudents watch selected films and consider the relationship of film and political ideas.
Other WMDUtilizing the internet, students research information on biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons.
Additional reference material for added context and support.
Busch, Nathan E. and Joyner, Daniel H. (eds.) Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Future of International Nonproliferation Policy (Studies in Security and International Affairs) (Athens, Georgia: The University of Georgia Press, 2009) 360 pages.
Mueller, John E. Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism from Hiroshima to Al-Qaeda (New York: Oxford University Press 2009) 336 pages.
Sagan, Scott and Waltz, Kenneth. The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: An Enduring Debate (New York: W.W. Norton, 2012) 288 pages.
Tannenwald, Nina. The Nuclear Taboo: The United States and the Non-Use of Nuclear Weapons Since 1945 (Cambridge Studies in International Relations) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008) 472 pages.
Walzer, Michael. Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations (New York: Basic Books, 2000) 361 pages.