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Research Seminar | Book launch. Estimative Intelligence in European Foreign Policymaking: Learning Lessons from an Era of Surprise

Monday November 14, 2022, from 12:00 to 13:30
Auditorium Mercè Rodoreda 23 (Basement). Mercè Rodoreda 23 Building
Research seminar

Nikki Ikani (Leiden University), Christoph Meyer (King’s College London), Eva Michaels (IBEI). ChairMartijn Vlaskamp (IBEI)

The book Estimative Intelligence in European Foreign Policymaking. Learning Lessons from an Era of Surprise provides the first assessment of the performance of three leading European polities in providing estimative intelligence during an era of surprise. It develops a new framework for conducting postmortems guided by a normative model of anticipatory foreign policy. The comparative analysis focuses on how the UK, the EU and Germany handled three cases of major surprises: the Arab uprisings, the rise to power of the Islamic State (ISIS), and the Russian annexation of Crimea. It considers not just government intelligence assessments, but also diplomatic reporting and expert open sources and how these assessments were received by organisational leaders. The book tests and develops new theories about the causes of strategic surprises, going beyond a common focus on intelligence versus policy failures to identify challenges and factors that cut across both communities. With the help of former senior officials, the book identifies lessons yet to be learnt by European polities to better anticipate and prepare for future surprises.

Nikki Ikani is an Assistant Professor of Intelligence and Security at the Leiden University Institute of Security and Global Affairs. She conducts her research at the intersection of intelligence studies, public policy studies and EU foreign policy. Her overarching research goal is to assess the processes of knowledge production, receptivity and intelligence use by policymakers in European settings of decision-making.

Christoph Meyer is a Professor of European & International Politics at King’s College London. He has worked extensively on European foreign and security policy. He has contributed to debates about the European public sphere and political integration, European strategic culture as well as questions of forecasting, warning, prevention, and lessons learned. He led, together with Michael Goodman, a project on intelligence and learning in European foreign policy (INTEL) which forms the basis of this book.

Eva Michaels is a Beatriu de Pinós Research Fellow at IBEI where she leads a project on the national acceptability of European crisis responses. She also contributes to an H2020 project on Envisioning a New Governance Architecture for a Global Europe (ENGAGE). Her research focuses on the theory and practice of European foreign policy, the intelligence-policy nexus and political leadership in European security policy.

During the course 2022-23, IBEI has organised a series of research seminars, which normally take place once a week. Check the 2022-23 programme

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