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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

J Christian Kessler
JSIS 478
Seattle Campus

Special Topics

Content varies from quarter to quarter.

Class description

Two different courses are offered: JSIS 478c & 578d Nuclear Nonproliferation & Safeguards (see below for this instructor's JSIS 478e/578c International Trade & Security) In 1946 the world sought to abolish nuclear weapons. That failed. In 1954 President Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace speech envisioned wide contributions to medicine, agriculture, science, and industry, not just generating electricity. Over the next decade this vision motivated efforts to build a global regime for peaceful uses of nuclear energy. At the same time, many countries started secret nuclear weapons programs. Due to strategic, political, and economic realities, neither Eisenhower's global regime nor many weapons programs came to fruition. But for many countries, nuclear weapons remained a national objective, even as the U.S. and the USSR joined forces to lead international nonproliferation efforts, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This course will examine the evolution of international efforts such as safeguards to stem proliferation, and the efforts of countries from India & South Africa to Iran and North Korea to obtain nuclear weapons. J. Christian Kessler is a retired senior U.S. State Department official with several decades experience in nuclear nonproliferation and international safeguards.

SIS 478e & 578c International Trade & National Security (see above for this instructor's JSIS 478c/578d) Weapons proliferation, export controls, UN sanctions, and efforts to interdict trafficking, do the tools meet the threat? At the start of the Cold War, the U.S. and NATO allies came together to prevent transfer of the new nuclear technology and other militarily important items to the Soviet Bloc. In the 1970s & 1980s, a new and more widely shared threat the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, & biological weapons led to new international structures, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Australia Group, and others, to stop proliferation of these weapons. But A.Q. Khan was developing a sophisticated global network to get Pakistan, (plus North Korea, Iran, & Libya) nuclear weapons technologies. Today technologies critical to weapons are also key to everyday life in laptops, airplanes, and ball-point pens. Companies using these technologies and materials are global, not national. Foreign trade is the foundation of prosperity, but also a risk as nations and terrorists seek weapons of mass destruction. Controlling items is hard, controlling technology far harder. Can we deal effectively with these threats? Is there a role for the UN, or are Security Council sanctions like King Knute trying to stop the tide? This course will examine the tools we use to fight proliferation and the challenges we face in crafting effective tools, and address these questions from the perspective of the policy makers responsible for national security here and in other countries. J. Christian Kessler is a retired senior State Department expert with 30+ years experience in non-proliferation and export controls.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by J Christian Kessler
Date: 04/25/2012