Nuclear Weapons: Useful Deterrents or Arsenals of Folly?

Dates: May 3-5, 2022

Meets: Tu, W and Th from 10:00 AM to 12 N

Location: Online

OLLI Member: $40.00

Enrollment requires a 2021 - 2022 OLLI at MSU Membership

On August 6, 1945, the world changed forever when a nuclear blast devastated the city of Hiroshima, Japan, killing 80,000 people. The mushroom cloud became the universal symbol of horror. The cold war followed, and at its high point, the U.S. and USSR had 70,000 nuclear weapons. Has the presence of massive numbers of atomic weapons as deterrents prevented their use, or have we just been lucky?

In the 70s and 80s, public resistance to nuclear weapons materialized and was represented in popular culture by movies such as Nevil Shute's "On the Beach" and "Dr. Strangelove." In 1982, one million people gathered in New York's Central Park to call for an end to nuclear weapons. The popular 1983 television movie, "The Day After," accurately depicted a nuclear winter and motivated President Reagan to rethink his cold war policies.

While today's nuclear stockpile has been reduced to 13,000, the world is more dangerous than ever. Nine nations now have nuclear weapons. The U.S. and Russia are quietly spending billions upgrading their nuclear weapons and delivery systems. All of this is being done with no political or public overview, as other issues have resulted in the public losing interest in nuclear weapons.

This program will be divided into three sessions with lead speakers as shown:

The emergence of nuclear weapons and systems for delivery. - Gerald Geise

History and effectiveness of various arms control agreements. - James Montgomery

Foreign policy challenges presented by current and aspiring nuclear powers. -David Dunford

Apply for a needs-based scholarship to take this offering.

Fee:   $40.00


This is a real-time (live) online class that meets at the specified day(s)/time(s) listed.

We will send you a reminder email with login instructions one business day before the program start date. If there are additional sessions, we will send reminders the morning of those sessions.

Dave Dunford

Dave Dunford was the U.S. ambassador to Oman and was the Deputy Ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the 1990-91 Gulf War. He is a member of the governing board of the University of Arizona's Center for Middle East Studies. He has taught courses on the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Middle East business environment at the University of Arizona. In addition, he has consulted for both the government and the private sector on Middle East issues. He is the author of "From Sadat to Saddam: The Decline of American Diplomacy in the Middle East" (Potomac Books 2019).

Gerald Geise

Gerald Geise is a graduate of MSU's Department of Chemical Engineering. He spent 25 years in the nuclear industry with General Electric and United Nuclear in increasingly responsible engineering and management positions. Those include the operations manager for the Hanford, Washington nuclear reactors that produce plutonium for nuclear weapons, and the operations manager for the largest dual-purpose plutonium and electrical generation nuclear reactor. He was also president of a United Nuclear division that manufactured atomic reactors for the U.S. Navy. In addition, he has an extensive public speaking background on the risks and benefits of nuclear power.

James Montgomery

James Montgomery spent 30 years with the U.S. State Department, working on nuclear matters and congressional relations in Southeast Asia. He handled several arms control issues for Henry Kissinger's inner circle and brokered the congressional aspects of our nuclear cooperation agreement with China. He directed the office handling Theater Nuclear force negotiations in Europe and was Counselor of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. In addition, he led the State Department's public speaking program during the ratification of the second SALT agreement. Upon retirement, he became Director, International Affairs for the Seagrams beverage company, devising student exchange programs in business for young people from the former Soviet imperium.
Date Day Time Location
05/03/2022Tuesday10 AM to 12 N Online
05/04/2022Wednesday10 AM to 12 N Online
05/05/2022Thursday10 AM to 12 N Online


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