Month: November 2016

NuclearBrink Living at the Nuclear Brink: Yesterday and Today

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The University of Stanford is currently offering an interesting and unique online course: NuclearBrink Living at the Nuclear Brink: Yesterday and Today. The course offers an introduction to the history of nuclear weapons, focusing on topics such as Deterrence, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Berlin Wall, Proliferation, Nuclear Terrorism, Nuclear Policies and so forth. See an outline of the course here:

Week 1: Introduction; What Are Nuclear Weapons and Why Were They Developed?
Dr. William J. Perry; Dr. Joseph Martz; Dr. Siegfried Hecker

Week 2: Nuclear Proliferation in the United States and Around the World
Dr. William J. Perry; Dr. Joseph Martz; Dr. Siegfried Hecker

Week 3: Under a Nuclear Cloud: Early Cold War
Dr. William J. Perry; Dr. David Holloway

Week 4: Fear and Loathing and Relief: Later Cold War
Dr. William J. Perry; Dr. David Holloway

Week 5: A Lack of Intelligence
Dr. William J. Perry; Philip Taubman

Week 6: Dilemmas of Nuclear Policy
Dr. William J. Perry; Dr. Scott Sagan; Dr. David Holloway; Dr. Andre Kokoshin

Week 7: New Nuclear Dangers: Nuclear Terrorism
Dr. William J. Perry; Dr. Martha Crenshaw; Dr. Siegfried Hecker

Week 8: New Nuclear Dangers: South Asia and Proliferation
Dr. William J. Perry; Dr. Scott Sagan; Dr. Martha Crenshaw; Dr. Siegfried Hecker; Dr. Andre Kokoshin

Week 9: What Has Been Done, and Can Be Done, about Nuclear Dangers
Dr. William J. Perry; Amb. James Goodby; Secretary George Shultz

Week 10: What Next?
Dr. William J. Perry; Joseph Cirincione

The course is currently on its fifth week but you can still sign up and ‘play catch up’ the course offers a number of videos, lectures and a wide array of primary and secondary material.

“The key goals of this course are to warn you of the dangers you face and to give you some insight on what could be done to avoid those dangers. My challenge in this course is to make vivid to you that the dangers of nuclear weapons, far from being historical curiosities, are existential dangers today. You will have the opportunity to engage in discussions about these topics with both world experts and peers from around the globe.”

– William Perry

It should be noted that the course does primarily focus on the American nuclear bomb, but does offer segments of history regarding South Asia, Eastern Europe, Russia and the United Kingdom. Another thing to consider is that it takes an anti-nuclear approach. William Perry  outwardly states that he hopes the course will help people take action against nuclear weapons. This political stance should be considered when embarking on the modules, as some information and arguments may be distorted and one-sided. However I would encourage all those interested in the history of nuclear weapons, and the fear surrounding them, to sign up!

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