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Indiana University Bloomington
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Course Description

United States Foreign Policy: Navigating the Nuclear Age (3 cr)
Dina Spechler
JSTU-J 304 Social & Historical Topics in Jewish Studies (34660) / POLS-Y 360 (5575) / HON-H 304 (11870)
TR 4:55-6:10 pm
CASE S&H; credit given for only one of J304 or POLS-Y 360 or HON-H 304 with this topic
Note: students taking the course for credit in Jewish Studies should identify themselves to the instructor at the beginning of the semester.Students taking this course for credit in Jewish Studies need to focus their papers on American policy toward Israel or American decisions that have significantly affected Israel.

Is war with a nuclear-armed North Korea on the horizon? Does the Iran Deal serve the interests of the U.S. and its closest allies? Will Russia soon have an “invincible” nuclear weapon, as President Putin claims? Contrary to once widely held expectations, the end of the Cold War has not eliminated the threat to national and planetary survival posed by nuclear weapons. Both the US and Russia retain huge arsenals, which both sides are working hard to modernize. Russia has begun to deploy some of these in forward positions and has threatened to use them against American allies, as well as against the United States. A growing number of other states, some of them hostile to the US, are acquiring significant arsenals of their own. These arsenals pose a serious threat to our allies as well as to ourselves; some of these allies have felt it necessary to pursue, or at least consider pursuing, nuclear weapons of their own. Meanwhile, the process of nuclear proliferation has accelerated and increased the danger of nuclear war from miscalculation, accident or detonation by terrorists. At the same time, the United States, like the other nuclear superpower, is faced with serious environmental damage and substantial risks resulting from the production and storage of nuclear warheads and fuel over many decades. This course will examine the key decisions over the last 70 years by policy makers in the US that contributed to the creation of this dangerous situation, the contemporary consequences of their decisions, how the U.S. has employed diplomacy to avoid nuclear war and reduce its likelihood, and the prospects for the future. We will consider the options open to American decision makers in the past, the wisdom of and rationale for the choices they made, and the challenges they confront in the present. The course will involve a research paper.