Document Type

Undergraduate Syllabus


Spring 2022



Course Number

DIPL 3120

Course Description

This course provides a knowledge base and background for understanding contemporary international relations in which nuclear weapons play a central role. Currently, nuclear weapons policy is of critical importance in U.S. relations with Iran, Pakistan and North Korea. Questions of stockpiles, safety, proliferation and deployment have been ongoing with the Russian Federation since 1991 and with the previous Soviet Union dating back to the dawn of the atomic age. In addition, the real but often unacknowledged, nuclear strike capabilities of Israel play a critical role in shaping the dynamics of Middle East affairs. Since the A1 Qaeda attack of 9/11, the potential use of nuclear weapons by non-nation states has become a priority focus of national and international attention. The specter of nuclear terrorism has become a more central concern than that of nuclear deterrence.

In order to understand these issues, the course will include study of the fundamentals of nuclear weapons technology through an historic review that begins with the Manhattan Project of World War II and continues with the U.S.-Soviet arms race that shaped many aspects of world affairs from post World-War II through the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. Additional historic events that help illuminate contemporary issues.