Event Recap: "Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes"

Lauren Kostich

This past week Richard Clarke spoke at MIT’s Starr Forum about his and R.P. Eddy’s new book titled “Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes.” Richard Clarke served for 30 years in the United States Government, 10 of which were directly served in the White House in roles such as Special Assistant to the President for Global Affairs. Eddy is the former Director at the White House National Security Council under the Clinton administration.

Richard began the evening by explaining the concept of a Cassandra. To cite the new book: “Cassandra was a beautiful princess of Troy, cursed by the god Apollo. He gave her the ability to see impending doom, but the inability to persuade anyone to believe her.”  He went on to describe the seven chapters within the book as seven different modern day Cassandras; experts who have indisputable evidence to extraordinary future premonitions. The book highlights concepts like sentinel intelligence, high performing anxiety, and past Cassandras. One example given was from a Foreign Service Officer, Robert Ford, who predicted the creation of something like ISIS in the vacuum created by the Syrian Civil War.

The event ended with a Q & A with the author and audience. In spite of the rather difficult and often heavy material, the empowerment of hope for potential policy to mitigate these disasters was the biggest takeaway for the attendees.

Check out the book here, and be sure to check out other upcoming talks and events on our events calendar!