SemText #4: Nuclear power and regional cooperation in ASEAN

This post is a collection of notes and thoughts on a roundtable on nuclear power and safety in ASEAN held as part of Singapore International Energy Week 2016.

Nuclear power. The first thing that came to mind was images of that iconic mushroom cloud and the prospect of living in a Mad Max world. But then I remembered we’re in Southeast Asia, which has been declared a nuclear-weapon-free zone since 1995. Although ASEAN has declared itself to be free from nukes, the charm of harnessing atomic energy for civilian purposes is too hard to resist. I honestly did not know that Vietnam is planning to have up to 10 reactors in 15-30 years, and that the Philippines has the first nuclear power plant in Southeast Asia, but was never fuelled.

Despite knowing the destructive power of nuclear energy, I am also a firm believer that nuclear power is the way to power the future. As Asimov has shown in Foundation and Gipsy Danger in Pacific Rim, nuclear power is indeed the source of energy that people need to thrust themselves into the future.

The roundtable featured a variety of experts on nuclear power, such as Dr Olli Heinonen, Dr Tatsujiro Suzuki, Shah Nawaz Ahmad, Sabar Mohd Hashim, Siriratana Biramontri, and Dr Hoang Sy Than, who talked about the need to establish robust institutions to promote regional cooperation and information-sharing as a way to harness nuclear power in ASEAN.

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Semtext #3: Steven Metz – Deciphering the American Way of Warfare

This SemText is a recap of an impressive talk by Steven Metz, who attempts to “decipher” the American approach to war and conflict over the centuries and how the future would look like.

At first, I was not that interested in the topic of the seminar. The American way of war seemed to be such a bore. It’s about power projection, neo-imperialism, all that conspiracy stuff. However, Steven Metz delivered the topic in such an interesting way, I actually had an actual paradigm shift.

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SemText #1: Can defence technology make us strategically stupid?

This SemText discusses how defence technology may impair strategic intuition.

It’s August and it’s time for the Asia-Pacific Programme for Senior Military Officers (APPSMO)! Granted that I’m still a civilian, it’s a great privilege for me to actually be able to attend this event (albeit only the morning seminars). There are supposed to be 3 talks today, but I missed the first one because it took me 2 hours to get to the venue which was located at the east coast of Singapore (I live at the west coast) and the second one was already half-way through. So I decided to just pay attention to the third and final talk delivered by Prof. Pascal Vennesson about how defence technology can make military planners become strategically stupid. His emphasis was on how technology influences strategic decision-making.

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