“Geopolitics: Crisis and Change”
The fifth William Pitt seminar, entitled "Geopolitics: crisis and change", was held in the Queen's Building, Emmanuel College, on Friday 15th October 2010. Following the seminar, a dinner was held in the Pembroke College dining hall.
Previous seminars have examined the state, and prospects, of the world from primarily scientific and economic standpoints - what we should and what we can do to meet the various and imminent global challenges.
The aim of the fifth seminar was to ask why it is that, despite widespread agreement on what many or most of these challenges are and despite the existence of clear solutions in some cases, political leaders seem unable to make proper headway.
The seminar was chaired by Mr James Naughtie, the well-known broadcaster, and considered four principal areas/topics:
- the historical perspective: how so-called empires fade and others grow, and the tensions that this causes
- Europe: is it really impotent, and if so, why? If not, what role might it play?
- the shift of power and influence from West to East, a perspective looking east
- the shift of power and influence from West to East, a perspective looking west
The speakers were:
- Mr Robert Cooper, Director-General for External and Politico-Military Affairs at the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union
- Hon. Alexander Downer, formerly Australian Foreign Minister who will give a 'Pacific Rim' perspective
- Dr Stefan Halper, University of Cambridge, former US Presidential Advisor, whose research interests remain centred on US foreign and national security issues and international security matters, and whose latest book, "The Beijing Consensus" argues that China's authoritarian model will dominate the 21st Century.
- Professor Brendan Simms, University of Cambridge, Professor in the History of International Relations, who will provide a historian's perspective.
The dinner began with a wonderful recipe from the French Laundry cookbook by Thomas Keller. Lobster pancakeds were served with 'peas and carrots', or more precisely, a carrot and ginger emulsion and a peashoot salad.
The main course of venison haunch was cooked sous vide for seven hours, whilst still maintaining a medium-rare finish. With the venison we also served butternut squash, braised shallots, crispy bacon and champ potato.
For dessert we served a lemon sabayon tart garnished with fresh raspberries and sweetened cream.