Jan. 23, 2023

What We Are Learning This Week with Dr. Rob Huebert

Examining strategic studies’ core theoretical approaches
Atom Bomb

January 23, 2023 in POLI 685 Strategic Studies  

Dr. Rob Huebert is exploring the core theoretical understanding of strategic studies and what this means for our efforts to understand the use and the threat of using violence and war in the international system. 


Can you tell us a little more about this topic? 

War and the threat of war remains a central element of the international system. We see this in what is happening in Ukraine and what could happen in Taiwan. In this class, we address the same questions raised by such thinkers such as Thucydides, von Clausewitz, and Sun Tzu as to how we can try to understand what is war and why does it exist. In addition, given the development and constant refinement of weapons of mass destruction that now exist such questions gain even more urgency within our considerations.  

Huebert Headshot

What else do you cover in your course? 

The focus on organized violence leads us to a consideration of what security means in the international system. This requires that we not only look at the issues surrounding an understanding of war, but we must also understand other types of international insecurity. Thus, we are also looking at the meaning of concepts such as human security and so must include in our search for understanding newer theoretical additions to our understanding such as gendered and environmental security.

What do you love about teaching this course? 

"Love" is not the correct term! This course requires me to think about some of the most dangerous threats facing humankind. Whether it is the death and destruction caused by conventional war, the threat of world-wide annihilation caused by nuclear war, or the harm to the world that could come because of climate change, understanding the causes of these existential threats is perhaps one of the most important challenges we now face. As the famous strategic studies analyst Herman Khan had said, we do not want to think of the unthinkable. But without understanding this subject and more importantly without developing the new generation of thinkers to continue to try to understand it, we will not develop the understanding to protect ourselves.

Finally, what other courses would you recommend for students interested this topic? 

POLI 643 Law and Armed Conflict, POLI 681 Advanced Analysis of International Relations, POLI 683 Advanced Studies in Foreign Policy, POLI 684 Human Rights and Humanitarianism, POLI 687 Advanced Studies in Canadian Arctic Security, POLI 689 Unconventional Warfare, as well as courses in the Dept. of History like HTST 655 Classics of Strategy, HTST 637 Topics in Military History, and HTST 601 Topics in Imperial History 


Our Thanks to Dr. Rob Huebert for sharing your course with us !