Former British Ambassador to Moscow, Sir Tony Brenton, visited SSI this month. He talked with MStrat students about unfolding events in Ukraine as well as about his experience of strategy under pressure, drawing upon his time in Washington D.C. in 2004. Brenton, then the No 2 in the Washington Embassy, saw at first hand the way the Coalition’s assumptions and plan for Iraq unravelled.
Sir Tony, a member if the SSI Honorary network later joined students for further debate over drinks and supper. It is in such informal encounters that much of SSI’s experiential learning occurs.
Exeter MStrat students had a fascinating, candid and free-ranging 90 minute discussion recently with ex-CIA Director and Honorary SSI Professor David Petraeus as part of their Iraq case study. The aim of an intensive week was to explore different aspects of strategy in reality, building upon the theoretical foundation laid in earlier modules.
The Iraq day included contributions from senior British diplomats, intelligence officers and Whitehall policy makers. The theme was the decent into chaos following the removal of the Iraqi Regime in 2003. At that time, General Petraeus – a tactical commander in Northern Iraq – presciently asked “tell me how this ends”.
SSI provides students with unique opportunities to explore diverse aspects of applied security strategy with academic experts and practitioners, tapping their exemplary insight.