Course Title: Global Politics of Arms Control

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Global Politics of Arms Control

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 2 2007,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 2 2015

Course Coordinator: Dr Aiden Warren

Course Coordinator Phone: +(61 3) 9925 3758

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 37.5.26

Course Coordinator Availability: On appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course is designed to provide you with a comprehensive insight into the global politics of nuclear weapons. The course will look at the history of nuclear weapons, including the race to beat Nazi Germany to the bomb; the history of early attempts to control the bomb, through to the Soviet detonation of an atomic device in August 1949; the race to acquire the Hydrogen bomb; and selected crises and milestones of nuclear deterrence and arms control through to the end of the Cold War.

The course will also evaluate the contemporary debates that define this area of international (in)security. Traditional arms control and disarmament agreements/organisations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the proposed Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) (to name a few) will be examined – including the extent they are ratified, verified and enforced. Additionally, notions of reaching an effective counterterrorism strategy – amid a climate of loose weapons/material – while also trying to maintain responsible nuclear energy usage will be reviewed. The latter part of the course will look at the US nuclear weapon policy in response to the post Cold War period in dealing with the emergence of “rogue” states in the form of Iraq, North Korea and Iran, while attempting “adjust” to the positions of India, Pakistan and China.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Upon successful completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • Identify and analyse the core theoretical concepts and practices associated with nuclear deterrence, arms control and disarmament
  • Analyse and evaluate the different perspectives on deterrence, arms control and disarmament through an understanding of the key historical, strategic, political and ethical issues associated with these practices.
  • Formulate and debate a position in relation to nuclear deterrence, arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament.
  • Synthesise information and ideas from a range of authoritative sources associated with nuclear deterrence, arms control and disarmament

Overview of Learning Activities

In this course you will be have the opportunity to actively engage with the material via discussion, debate and group work.

Overview of Learning Resources

This course makes extensive use of Internet resources and RMIT Library collections and electronic databases. While most reading will be available online or on MyRMIT, it is expected that you will in addition purchase the following text:

Joseph Siracusa, Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2008.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program learning outcomes. Assessment may include tutorial presentations, research essays and take home examinations.

Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.

If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online: