Noon Today | US-Iran “Four Decades of Conflict” | RSVP Now


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The Tennessee World Affairs Council and Belmont University’s Center for International Business Present


“Four Decades of Conflict”

Patrick Ryan

U.S. Navy Intelligence Officer (Retired) and President, Tennessee World Affairs Council

February 28, 2018

12:00-1:00 pm

Belmont University, Massey College of Business

Room MC 203 | Massey Business Center


Convenient Parking Available

Park at Belmont’s Inman Center/North Garage (Directions at this Link). From Inman Garage take the Inman Building elevator to the second floor. Turn left to cross the pedestrian bridge to the Massey Business Center. Take the elevator to the second floor. Room MC 203. 

Please Register to Secure a Seat / Please Cancel if Your Plans Change.

It is no surprise that among the Council on Foreign Relations “Seven Foreign Policy Stories to Watch in 2018” the challenge Iran poses to its neighbors and American interests in the Gulf would be found.

James Lindsay, writing for CFR in December talked about Iran’s big for regional hegemony, “Iranian leaders must be pleased with how 2017 played out. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad looks to be securely in power in Damascus. Ditto Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Islamic State lost much of its territory.

The Iraqi government retook the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. Houthi rebels have Saudi Arabia bogged down in a quagmire in Yemen. Iranian involvement figured prominently in all of these developments, which has entrenched Iranian influence across the region.”

What has taken some observers by surprise has been the January 2018 eruption of violent protests among Iranians motivated to some extent but not exclusivity by dissatisfaction with the ruling regime’s handling of the economy.

The developments in Iran and the region are unfolding as the Trump Administration expands its rhetorical and policy moves against Tehran — from verbal support of protestors to implementation of new sanctions targeting Iran’s regional misbehavior. The Iran nuclear deal, the P5+1 JCPOA multilateral agreement verified by international monitors as effective, is the target of the White House and Congress.  The National Security Strategy announced by President Trump in December said the US will “work with partners to deny the Iranian regime all paths to a nuclear weapon and neutralize Iranian malign influence” as part of it’s priority political actions in the region.

Meanwhile, America’s key gulf ally, Saudi Arabia, is pitting its regional foreign policy and military preparedness against the Iranian threat, directly and through proxy actors across the Middle East.

The US-Iranian relationship has been in dangerous waters before. However, 2018 portends an increase in bilateral frictions that could lead to direct US-Iranian confrontations. So as we enter a new season in this decades long contentious relationship it’s a good time to discuss where we are, how we got here and where we are likely to go in 2018.

Join us in a conversation about Iran and America, the four decades of challenges the relationship has posed in the Middle East, along with our President, Patrick Ryan, who in his career as a Navy Intelligence Officer has spent many years — starting in the 70s with regular visits to Iran — focused on the Gulf developments especially vis a vis Iran from vantage points ranging from the Joint Staff in the Pentagon to ships at sea facing off against a persistent military threat.

Here are some resources to help you prepare for this Global Dialogue conversation:

About Patrick Ryan

Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy (Retired) and Founding President of the Tennessee World Affairs Council

Patrick Ryan is the volunteer President and founder of the Tennessee World Affairs Council. In 2007 Mr. Ryan organized a group of concerned citizens to launch Tennessee’s first World Affairs Council, to bring global awareness education programs and resources to communities and schools in the state. At age 17 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he served a 26-year career, assigned first in the Persian Gulf in 1973 followed by assignments in the Submarine Service where he attained the rank of Chief Petty Officer. Mr. Ryan received a BA degree at the University of South Carolina, in 1981, majoring in International Studies followed by commissioning in the Navy as an Ensign and completed coursework in the Georgetown University National Security Studies program. Mr. Ryan served aboard numerous ships, headquarters staffs and overseas assignments before retiring in 1998 as a Lieutenant Commander. Among his assignments were the Joint Staff in the Pentagon, the Center for Naval Analyses, and US Central Command headquarters.

In the 1970s he served aboard the Middle East Force flagship in Bahrain and participated in bilateral exercises with Iranian naval forces. In the 1980s he served aboard ships that were involved in the “tanker war” between Iran and Iraq. At CENTCOM in the 1990s he headed the analytical branch that produced assessments of WMD, terrorism, and other transnational issues including threats posed by Iran to US interests. From 1999-2014 he published newsletters on Gulf affairs and was a frequent visitor to the Arabian Peninsula.

Ryan has lived and worked in Bahrain, Italy and Japan and has traveled to about 50 countries for work and leisure. He currently is abroad for an extended stay in York, England but will be in Nashville for this Global Dialogue and other World Affairs Council events.  [Additional Details]

Welcome to Global Dialogue — a program of the Tennessee World Affairs Council that offers a casual discussion session for people to share their perspectives on current issues in global developments.

Why: Global Dialogue is a community discussion program organized by the Tennessee World Affairs Council. The purpose is to bring people together to learn more about the pressing international issues of the day, to exchange insights and perspectives and to achieve an understanding about the challenges facing America in the world.

How: Global Dialogue sessions are informal, “salon”-like gatherings held in areas convenient to the participants — usually at Belmont University but also at downtown coffee shops, library meeting rooms, and such. Participants review materials assembled on the web site in advance of the session to be prepared to engage in conversation with their neighbors and colleagues. Sessions are facilitated by a group leader, and may include a specialist to provide background and context, but the Global Dialogue sessions will ensure everyone gets to share their views of the issues.

What: Here is the calendar for upcoming Global Dialogue sessions including links to the program materials for each topic. Check back up through the evening of the session for updates.

Register for the sessions on the topic page for each Global Dialogue session — links on the World Affairs Council calendar.  Seating is limited and registration in advance is highly recommended. If you register please attend or undo your registration to avoid someone else missing a seat.

Please consider joining the Council as a member if you like attending Global Dialogue and other TNWAC programs.  [Join Here]

To be updated on schedule changes make sure you’re on our email list: LINK TO SUBSCRIBE

Registration Required to Guarantee a Seat – If you Register Please Attend








THE MISSION of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Tennessee World Affairs Council is to promote international awareness, understanding and connections to enhance the region’s global stature and to prepare Tennesseans to thrive in our increasingly complex and connected world.

THE VISION of  the Tennessee World Affairs Council is a well-informed community that thinks critically about the world and the impact of global events.   

Learn more about the Council and find how you can join, donate and volunteer at:  — 

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