Inaugural Lecture, 29th April 2015, All Welcome!

Inaugural Lecture of Professor Patrick Porter

“The Fog of Peace: Defence and Uncertainty”

DATE:              Wednesday 29 April 2015

TIME:               6.15pm, followed by a drinks reception in Xfi

VENUE:           Moot Room
Amory Building
University of Exeter
Rennes Drive
EX4 4RJ

Again and again, stuff happens that shocks us. Despite investing in intelligence, contingent events catch us off guard, from disorder in the Ukraine, to revolutions like the Arab Spring. Experts and planners have a bad record of forecasting. So if we can’t reliably predict the future, how can we be wise in preparing for it?

This problem attracts a contradictory response from planners. They say life is unpredictable, but they predict it, claiming their states have the prescient capacity to prevent crises upstream. Some realists struggle with uncertainty too, treating the world as inherently uncertain, yet also patterned and scientifically legible. Regarding ourselves as bringers of order into chaos, we are bound to be shocked.

Wisely preparing for the unknown goes beyond ‘predicting better.’ Two classical thinkers, Carl von Clausewitz and Hans Morgenthau, offer a resource for handling the problem. For both, preparation meant not technocratic risk management, but a political struggle to define and rank the national interest as a compass and it meant educating people to cope with unique situations, only then could states navigate the fog of peace.

Click here to find out more about Professor Patrick Porter.

If you would like to attend please email to ssis-events@exeter.ac.uk. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

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