April 12, 2021

What We Are Learning This Week with Dr. Rob Huebert

This week in POLI 685 Strategic Studies, in Dr. Huebert's class Students present core research findings. Papers have included the threat of extremism to Canadian society and international humanitarian law’s protection for LGBTQ folks in battle zones.
POLI 681

April 12, 2021 in POLI 685 Strategic Studies

Dr. Rob Huebert’s seminar is continuing to share their research findings for their major research paper. The topics that will be discussed range from the threat to international society posed by social media to an evaluation of western counterinsurgency doctrine and practice; to rethinking naval strategy in the current era of naval aviation; to an examination of the new nuclear weapon environment.


Can you tell us a little more about the upcoming seminar presentations this week?

What unifies the diverse topics students are exploring in their final papers are their salience to understanding international security. Each of these are complex topics that defy easy explanation. This Is why it is so important for the students to be able to share their findings with their colleagues in the class and to discuss the implications to the security of the international system.

For instance, it is becoming increasingly apparent that social media is being weaponized. It is believed that some states are increasingly seeing it as means of attacking the political structure of their opponents. This is a growing threat facing open Western societies. At the same time, Western states continue to battle against terrorist and insurgent groups in the Middle East and Africa. One of the key means of doing so is through counterinsurgency measures. But issues remain as to how to do this in the most effective manner. Traditional security challenges also continue to grow. New technologies are creating both new threats and opportunities for western navies. How do they respond to ensure that western seapower continues to protect the international maritime system? The final issue we’ll look at this week surrounds the development of new nuclear weapon technologies and strategies that threaten the existing balance that was established in the Cold War. How are these changes to be understood? What is causing them? In total, the four presentations will all address key security issues facing the International system.

What else do you cover in your course?

We cover a wide range of topics both theoretical and subject-based. These range from understanding the role of nuclear weapons and deterrence in the world, to an understanding of human, gendered, and environment security. We examine the means of ordering our understanding of war and conflict through discussion and debates on the writing of the classic voices on strategic studies such as Von Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, and Thucydides. 

Dr. Rob Huebert

What are some of your most rewarding moments from this course?

There have been so many, so it is hard to choose just one. Nevertheless, the one most rewarding has been to watch students retain what they have learned in class and to use it in their subsequent careers. I've seen students publish their works from the class, maintain core elements of what they discovered in the class for their academic career, or use elements of the course In their government or law careers. These have to be one of the most satisfying elements for any educator.

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

We have a wide range of courses in International Relations that would be great background for students interested in strategic studies. Our Department also has a number of more advanced courses that will develop a student’s expertise in this particular area, such as: POLI 439 Strategic Studies, POLI 435 Canada and World Politics, POLI 491 U.S. Security Policy, POLI 492 Foreign Policy Analysis, POLI 523 Canada and the Circumpolar World, POLI 543 Law and Armed Conflict, and, POLI 575 Intelligence and Policy.

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