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Nuclear Proliferation and Arms Control in the Middle East and Beyond

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  • Elective course
  • 4 credit hours
This course focuses on nuclear proliferation and arms control in the Middle East, on the backdrop of international efforts to stem nuclear proliferation globally, particularly in light of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) that went into force in 1970. The course will highlight motivations for developing nuclear weapons, how they are viewed by states and by the international community, the strategic dilemmas that states face when they attempt to negotiate arms control agreements in the nuclear realm, and the dilemmas faced by the international community when trying to curb the nuclear ambitions of determined proliferators. The cases that will come under review include the nuclear ambitions of Iraq, Iran, and Syria, the attempt to negotiate arms control regionally in the early 1990s, and the essence and implications of Israel's policy of ambiguity in the nuclear realm. As far as assessing international efforts to stem proliferation, we will focus in particular on the two major proliferation challenges of the post-Cold War – Iran and North Korea – and assess developments in arms control thinking in light of the experience of strong international actors to curb these two states' nuclear ambitions.
In conceptual terms, controlling the negative effects of nuclear weapons and their spread will be examined and discussed from the perspective of international relations studies, and in light of the two major arms control traditions that developed over the course of the second half of the 20th century: disarmament (with its focus on eliminating weapons), and "stabilization of relations" (with its focus on how states behave and interact). 
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