Great Decisions Topic: Persian Gulf Security

Speaker Date: May 7, 2021

The Persian Gulf remains tense as rivalry between the regional powers of Saudi Arabia and Iran continues—and in particular as Iraq inches closer to becoming a nuclear power.

Current instability in this historically unstable region can be traced in part to the United States’ invasion of Iraq in 2003, in part to fallout from the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011.

Because the world economy depends on the flow of oil from the Middle East, restoring stability is high on the list of foreign policy challenges faced by the Biden administration.

Though the United States may want to step back, we are deeply committed in the area with widespread economic investment and no fewer than ten military bases. Will changes in policy enacted by President Biden make a difference?

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Dr. William Brandon

Ph.D. Duke University (Political Science)
M.A. University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
M.A. London School of Economics and Political Science
B.A., Johns Hopkins University

Dr. William Brandon came to the University of North Carolina – Charlotte in 1994 as the Metrolina Medical Foundation Distinguished Professor of Public Policy on Health. He held that post until his retirement in 2014. Dr. Bandon’s experience with life in the Persian Gulf, long and deep, began with two years in Shiraz, Iran as a Peace Corps volunteer in the 1960s before the Islamic Revolution. Later, a Fulbright Fellowship brought him to Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman for a year and he continued to travel in the region including two visits to Iran after the revolution. He serves currently the liaison between the Peace Corps Iran Association and two filmmakers who are filming a documentary on the Peace Corps presence in Iran.

In his teaching years Professor Brandon was an active member of the Middle East Studies Association. At the University of North Carolina – Charlotte he taught an undergraduate seminar on Iran and Afghanistan for the Honors College and a course of Iran and the nuclear issue under the auspices of the Department of Political Science.