The purpose of this seminar is to present the preliminary findings of Dr Cole’s assessment of the political utility of radioactive material in Southeast Asia. In light of the fact that radioactive material is a commodity that is legal to buy and sell on international markets, this analysis includes the range of applications and uses, from commercial goods to military applications. For the purpose of this analysis, “political utility” is defined as the ability of the party in possession of radioactive material to convert the putative power of radioactive material into measures that deter, compel or influence the conduct of another party. Of particular interest are four types of weaponized radioactive material, viz., Improvised Nuclear Device (IND), Radiological Dispersion Device (RDD), Radiological Exposure Device (RED), and Nuclear Explosive Device (RED). The hypothesis of this analysis is that the political utility of weaponized radioactive material, which has diminished considerably since the end of the Cold War (1989), is not a significant factor that influences the structure or conduct of national security affairs in Southeast Asia today.
About the Speaker:
Paul M Cole is currently a visiting fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at the Nanyang Techonological University (NTU) in Singapore. Dr Cole’s previous affiliations include the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP), and the RAND Corporation. Dr Cole received his PhD from the Johns Hopkins Nitze School of Advance International Studies (SAIS), the Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) degree from the Georgetown University Edmund Walsh Graduate School of Foreign Service, and the B.A. from Gustavus Adolphus College. Dr Cole, who taught at Georgetown University and the University of Southern California, also studied at the universities of Stockholm and Orebro in Sweden. For those interested in background reading, see Dr Cole’s monograph, Nuclear Bombast: Nuclear Weapon Decisionmaking In Sweden, 1946-1972 (Stimson Center, 1996 and The Washington Quarterly, Volume 20, No 2, 1997).