Tufts OpenCourseware
Sailors standing topside Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Philadelphia. (Source: www.defenselink.mil, 2007.)
Highlights of this Course

This course examines the political, economic, military, and ethical factors affecting the use and utility of military force in international relations. Students will study the political and decision-making process by which nations decide to use military force as well as the major arms control agreements of the post-World War II period, including negotiations currently under way.

Course Description

This course  provides an overview of the role of force in international politics. It examines the circumstances under which states and non-state actors use force of the threat of force to advance their interests and enhance their security. The course has three parts. Part I reviews systemic theories on the causes of war and their implications for current U.S. grand strategy. Part II examines theories and practice of coercion, specifically the use of conventional airpower in World War II and the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Part III examines current security challenges, including U.S. military transformation; U.S. Nuclear doctine; the privatization of military forces and functions. It also includes China's military modernization; nuclear weapons proliferation in South Asia and the Middle East; third party intervention in ethno-nationalist civil wars; state sponsorshop of terrorism; and the dynamics insurgencies and counterinsurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Please note that the course as presented here does not contain the full content of the course as taught at Tufts. The included content is based on material the Tufts faculty and instructors choose to include, as well as factors such as content preparation, software compatibility, and intellectual property and copyright restrictions.
Course Faculty
Jeffrey W. Taliaferro
Course Length
30 Hours