This Week

TNWAC This Week

January 12, 2021

Dear Members and Friends:

America is under attack as it has never been before.

You could see it coming. The polarization and proliferation of lies that has infected our society and discourse led to the inevitable eruption of violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, a dagger at the throat of democracy.

I worked as an intelligence professional on Middle East terrorism analysis in the 1990s. So I was shocked but not surprised when I heard American Airlines Flight 77 slam into the Pentagon on September 9, 2001. There were warnings. America knew the threat was there and that it was coming to get us. The learned lesson was that it was a failure of imagination to prepare for the day that “changed everything.”

On Christmas morning my family was startled awake by the blast noise and concussion of a very large explosion, the bomb blast a block away in downtown Nashville. It sounded like a large aircraft had crashed nearby. With that shocking experience in mind I asked terrorism expert Malcolm Nance to join us for a Webinar on January 5th. Malcolm, a fellow Navy vet and friend, has over 35 years working on national security issues including terrorism and cyber warfare and serves as an on-air consultant to NBC News.

The night before the Capitol attack Nance talked through the Nashville bombing and then turned to the threat from domestic violent extremists — a threat that FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress last summer that posed a “steady and evolving threat of violence and economic harm to the United States.” He said there was a “dramatic, terrifying rise of the home-grown right wing extremists,” and warned about an “upcoming insurgency involving … para-military, right wing extremists.” They have a very solid base of support, Nance added. [Watch the Webinar Here]

The next day we were once again shocked but not surprised when hundreds of violent right-wing extremists violently attacked the “citadel of democracy” causing murder and mayhem. We saw it coming. The evidence has been widely reported. We saw it in April when fatigue-clad, long gun carrying thugs pushed inside the Michigan Senate Chamber to intimidate lawmakers. It was followed by the plot to kidnap and harm Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. In October the Department of Homeland Security, in their annual assessment of threats, told us so: “Some DVEs [Domestic Violent Extremists] and other violent actors might target events related to the 2020 Presidential campaigns, the election itself, election results, or the post-election period. Such actors could mobilize quickly to threaten or engage in violence.”

The attack on the U.S. Capitol was shocking but not a surprise. We saw it coming. And this time it wasn’t a failure of imagination. It was just a failure that has changed everything.

And terrorism is not a one and done. The spasm of violent attacks may just be starting.

So, what is our concern here, beyond that of being concerned citizens? Our responsibility at the World Affairs Council is to tell you something interesting, something important about what’s going on in the world that affects your security, prosperity, health and interests.

This week we’re aroused by the global response to the January 6th putsch. Our friends in the global community have been alerted by and concerned about erratic behavior by American leadership for years. This diminishment of American example, influence and position in the world was further damaged last week.

The strength of our democratic system is questioned by friends and adversaries. Leaders in China, Russia, Iran and elsewhere are speaking out about the failure of Western democracy as proven by events in Washington. A leader in Russia’s parliament said, “The holiday of democracy is over.” It will be a long time before we shake charges like that.

First we must get our house in order.

Join us tomorrow, Wednesday, January 13th at 1pm CT for our Global News Review. Ambassador Dick Bowers with Dr. Breck Walker and I, will discuss the international reaction to the Capitol putsch.





Patrick W. Ryan
Founding President, TNWAC


January 13 | Wednesday | 1:00pm CT | Global News Review: International Reaction, Taiwan Relations and Iran Nuclear Progress | Register (Every Wednesday)

January 19 | Tuesday | 7:00pm CT | “Global Nashville with Karl Dean”: A Conversation with Nashville Chamber President Ralph Schulz | Register (Every Other Tuesday)

January 20 | Wednesday | 1:00pm CT | Global News Review | Register (Every Wednesday)

January 27 | Wednesday | 1:00pm CT | Global News Review | Register (Every Wednesday)

January 28 | Thursday | 9:00am CT | Future of Korea Project & IBC Business Insiders’ Series | Register

January 28 | Thursday | 5:30am CT | Future of Korea Project Global Town Hall: US-Korea Relations – Keynote TNECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe | Register

February 3 | Wednesday | 1:00pm CT | Global News Review | Register (Every Wednesday)

February 9 | Tuesday| 7:00pm CT | Global Dialogue | Hon. Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman | Kurdistan Regional Government Representative to the United States | Register

Mark your calendar for he bi-weekly “Global Nashville with Karl Dean” and “Global Dialogue” (every other Tuesday evening) programs and with the weekly “Global News Review (Wednesdays at 1pm).


Join our team of Ambassador Dick Bowers, Dr. Breck Walker and LCDR Patrick Ryan every Wednesday for expert analysis of current global developments. Give Dick, Breck and Pat 45 minutes and they’ll give you the world. Get analysis and commentary on the top events and issues leading global news reports and hard to find insights and perspectives from diplomacy, academia and intelligence.

This Wednesday at 1pm

  • International Reaction to Attack on American Democracy
  • SecState Pompeo’s 11th Hour Move on Taiwan
  • Iran and the 20 Percenters: It’s Only Uranium

Register Here


Join us January 19th as former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean talks with Ralph Schulz, President and CEO, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. Theres much to update since their conversation last April. So register now for what will be an insightful and important program.


The World Affairs Council is working with the Korea Economic Institute (KEI), the U.S. Department of State and the Embassy of South Korea to bring you a special project titled, “The Future of Korea” on January 28th. This two-part program will provide insight and perspectives on the relationship between our country and our state with an important strategic and economic partner, the Republic of Korea. Join us for a morning brief in partnership with the International Business Council at the Nashville Chamber and an evening Global Town Hall featuring keynote remarks from Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe. The panels include representatives from KEI, the State Department and the ROK Embassy.  Register: Morning Meeting with IBC | Register: Evening Global Town Hall


Let’s get together for a fun evening testing your knowledge of the world. In partnership with other World Affairs Councils we’ll host a global trivia contest on January 22nd. Topics include: Current Events, World Leaders, World Geography, Global Cultures and Traditions, World Flags and Maps and Presidents & The World. You could be a prize winner or just have a relaxing evening with new friends. Register now


The Anne Smedinghoff AWQ challenge is on. This annual competition among high school students is set for a practice round on January 31st and a joint championship match on March 7th (date change from Feb 28) with our sister World Affairs Councils in New Hampshire and Maine. We invite students and teachers to form teams and participate in this years program. More information on our page.  


Calling all quiz enthusiasts. Every Monday we launch ten questions derived from the previous week’s global news reports. Join our quiz takers from around Tennessee and around the world in this lively quiz. And if you are among the weekly winners, and you’re a TNWAC active dues paying member, you’re eligible for the monthly quiz prize. Look for the quiz on our Web site and in your email if you’re a TNWAC newsletter subscriber. Get on the newsletter list on our home page, [December prize: “The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal,” by Ambassador William Burns — named this week as Central Intelligence Agency Director nominee by President-Elect Biden]


TNWAC purchased a subscription to the popular weekday global affairs newsletter “Daily Chatter.” It brings you a quick, two-minute, perspective on the world each day. TNWAC active dues paying members receive this valuable service at no charge. If you are a Member and haven’t gotten the “Daily Chatter” signup link yet, drop us a note at If you’re not a member why not join today to get the “Daily Chatter” and other member benefits. DETAILS/JOIN

Photo Credit: “Storming the Capitol” – Tyler Merbler



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.