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Nightmare Lecture Series

The Nightmare Lecture Series, created by the Forum on Geopolitics, invites leading thinkers and practitioners in the area of geopolitics to reflect upon their own personal “nightmare” scenarios for humanity: the greatest potential man-made disasters that could be on the horizon in the near future.

 As well as outlining the precipitating event or cause of the nightmare scenario, and the social, political and economic ramifications that follow, speakers will also consider strategies and new ways of thinking that could prepare governments, organisations and individuals to prevent these events from happening, or better cope with the consequences if they do.

The aim of the Nightmare Series is to demonstrate the need for innovative, strategic forward planning at the highest levels of policy-making, and to illustrate the value of cutting-edge academic thinking to prepare for “real world” geopolitical events that may very well be just around the corner.

A Nightmare Scenario: Technology and Democracy
22 January 2019

From corporate surveillance to allegations of election hacking, the ever-evolving technological landscape continues to have profound impacts on politics and beyond. This all-star panel, which included Big Brother Watch's Silkie Carlo, the Director of the University of London's Information Law and Policy Centre, Dr. Nóra Ni Loideain, the University of Cambridge's Prof. John Naughton and Prof. David Runciman with former Guardian Technology Editor Charles Arthur serving as moderator, sought to address their personal nightmares on the effects technology could have on the functioning of contemporary democracy.

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The Partition of Ukraine: A Nightmare
7 February 2018

As part of its Nightmare series, Dr. George Friedman (CEO of Geopolitical Futures and founder of Stratfor) explained how an escalation of the ‘New Cold War’ leads to a new Iron Curtain through Ukraine, and what the subsequent political fallout would be. The event set the stage for the Forum’s upcoming research project on The New Intermarium, which aims to examine the new geopolitics in Central and Eastern Europe.

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Russia and Europe: Nightmares and Realities
14 March 2016

As part of its Nightmare series, Professor Nick Butler (KCL) discussed whether Europe is trapped in a state of dependence on Russian gas. The debate posed the question of what would happen if by some accident, let alone a strategic decision taken in Moscow, the gas stopped coming. Would eastern Europe grind to a halt, and would the west, led by Germany, sue for peace on any terms? Jānis KažociņšNational Security Adviser to the President, Republic of Latvia, acted as respondent.

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The Day 1.5 Billion People Lost Their Water
15 May 2015

As part of the Nightmare series, Professor Paul Kennedy (director of International Security Studies at Yale University) spoke on the topic of water security by painting a picture of an accidental and cataclysmic contamination event on the Tibetan Plateau. Prof. Kennedy emphasised that one of the most powerful geopolitical forces unleashed by such a 'nightmare' circumstance would be the mass panic of up to 1.5 billion people, and a disruption of economic activities sufficient to topple multiple governments.

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