This course introduces basic concepts and theories in the field of international security. The field is organized around the study of war, its causes, its characteristics and its mitigation. War is costly and yet both states and leaders resort to the use of force. Our task is to understand the rationale for this phenomenon.
The course is structured as follows. We start with the major theoretical approaches, realism, liberalism, and constructivism, and their understanding of the causes of war. We will then turn to the rationalist perspective to war and apply it to various issue-areas that have preoccupied both the scholarship and policy-making world. Issue-areas that will be covered include the nuclear proliferation, democratic peace, ethnic conflict, and terrorism.