November 9, 2009 - 12:00am
Students in James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies Director William Potter’s Monterey classroom aren’t just studying current events; they’re experiencing them with an unmatched level of realism. Even as Obama Administration officials work to negotiate a renewal of the START treaty with their Russian counterparts, students at the Monterey Institute are working through a semester-long simulation of the same negotiations, guided by Dr. Potter and Dr. Nikolai Sokov, a former member of the Russian delegation to the START I and START II talks with an insider’s intimate knowledge of the process.
The line between classroom exercise and reality was blurred further yesterday when students in the simulation class held a teleconference with Assistant Secretary of State for Verification, Compliance, and Implementation Rose Gottemoeller, the U.S. official in charge of overseeing the START Replacement Treaty negotiations. With the semester-long simulation course set to conclude within days of the Obama Administration’s announced December 5 goal for completing the START renewal talks, both participants and observers are curious to observe the parallels between real life and the classroom.