Since 1945 the world has debated the ethics, necessity and   effectiveness of nuclear deterrence. Is there any reasonable grounds to believe that they have made us safer? 


Seminar Questions:

  1. Do nuclear weapons prevent war? Or do they cause heightened security risk?
  2. What do the challenges of nuclear disarmament suggest about other weapons? (ie: UAVs, Cyber-weapons, etc)
  3. Should we ban nuclear weapons?



Baylis, Smith and Owens, The Globalisation of World Politics, Chapter 23.


Paul Bracken, “The Structure of the Second Nuclear Age” Orbis    Vol. 47, No. 3, 2003. pp. 399-413.


John Mearsheimer, “Why We Will Soon Miss the Cold War”,   The Atlantic Monthly, 1990.  


Barack Obama, “Prague Speech on Nuclear Weapons”, 2009.  


More Readings:


M. Brown et al, eds. Going   Nuclear: Nuclear Proliferation and Security in the 21st Century,   MIT Press, 2010.


J. Goldberg and M. Ambinder, “The Ally From Hell”, The Atlantic Monthly, December 2011.


M. O'Hanlon, "What if a Nuclear Armed State   Collapses?", Current History   2006


M. Quinlan, Thinking   About Nuclear Weapons: Princip

les, Problems, Prospects, Oxford University   Press, 2009.


Stephen Peter Rosen, “After   Proliferation: What to Do If More States Go Nuclear”, Foreign Affairs, September/October 2006.


S. Sagan and K. Waltz, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A   Debate Renewed, W. W. Norton, 2003.


Thomas Schelling, Arms   and Influence, Yale University Press, 1966.


N. Tannenwald, The   Nuclear Taboo: The United States and the Non-Use of Nuclear Weapons Since   1945, Cambridge University Press, 2007.


Marc Trachtenberg,   “Strategic Thought in America: 1952-1966”, Political Science Quarterly, Vol 104, No.2 (Summer 1989).   301-334.


Robert S. McNamara, Apocalypse Soon, Foreign Policy,   May/June 2005. Available online:  


International Court of Justice, Advisory Opinion on the   Legality of the Use of Nuclear Weapons.    The full Advisory Opinion is available on the ICJ website. See not   only the Opinion of the Court but also the Dissenting Opinions of Judge   Rosalyn Higgins and Vice President Stephen Schwebel.


US Department of Defense, WMD Handbook, 2000.


Suggested movie: (No   shortage of options here. But for something a little different, see: ) The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from   the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003) - A film about the former US Secretary   of Defense and the various difficult lessons he learned about the nature and   conduct of modern war.