On 12 February 2015, the MPhil class in the History of European Geopolitics came together for the final of three simulations. Unlike the first two such exercises, which recreated historical events, for the third simulation, the students were given the following hypothetical, future crisis scenario:
It is 1 May 2015, shortly before the UK general election on 7 May. In recent weeks Vladimir Putin has pushed further and further into Ukraine. Despite the falling oil price and associated internal unrest, his domestic standing with a nationalist population is higher than ever. Putin has also embarked on a systematic round of intimidation of the Baltic States since Easter. This morning a short notice meeting of the National Security Council has been convened in Cabinet Office Briefing Room A (COBRA) at 1000. It is understood that the Prime Minister will take the meeting personally.
Playing your role, you will be required to provide the PM with a succinct two minute briefing on your understanding of the situation, and the principle concerns of your department. You know only that there has been sporadic Latvian resistance, and that NATO troops surrounded at various airbases around the country have not yet been directly attacked and are awaiting instructions. There are also media reports of a large Russian 'scientific expedition' to the Arctic. Suspicious Russian activity is also reported in the Caucasus and Transnistria. Markets which are now opening have suffered significant falls and the price of oil has risen dramatically overnight. No official statement has been made yet from the White House or any other major Western capital. The Chinese and assorted governments have called for 'restraint'.
The event was chaired by Lord David Trimble, playing the role of the Prime Minister. He was supported by Adam Wurr of the FCO, acting as moderator.
Guest speakers included:
- Group Captain Mike Hart, Commandant, Defence Intelligence and Security Centre, Chicksands, who provided a military briefing
- Professor Jonathan Haslam, who delivered a briefing on the geopolitical implications of the global oil price, with a particular emphasis on Russia
The event was followed by a drinks reception at Peterhouse.