Estimative Intelligence in European Foreign Policymaking: Learning Lessons from an Era of Surprise

Christoph Meyer* (Editor), Eva Michaels (Editor), Nikki Ikani (Editor), Aviva Guttmann (Editor), Michael Goodman (Editor)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


This book develops a new framework for conducting postmortems guided by a normative model of anticipatory foreign policy. It is the first assessment of the performance of three leading European polities in providing estimative intelligence during an era of surprise. 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 government intelligence assessments, as well as diplomatic reporting and expert open sources and how organisational leaders received these assessments. 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 analyst and decision-maker communities. Drawing on insights and chapters provided by former senior officials, the book identifies lessons to learn from European polities to better anticipate and prepare for future surprises.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
PublisherEdinburgh: Edinburgh University Press
Number of pages251
ISBN (Electronic)978139950554
ISBN (Print)9781399505512
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2022


  • Intelligence
  • surprise
  • warning
  • foresight
  • Forecasting
  • foreign policy
  • conflict
  • Arab spring
  • Ukraine crisis
  • UK foreign policy
  • German foreign policy
  • EU foreign policy


Dive into the research topics of 'Estimative Intelligence in European Foreign Policymaking: Learning Lessons from an Era of Surprise'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this