Navigation Menu+

Jan. 4 – Dr. Robert Farley, Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, University of Kentucky

Posted on Dec 18, 2023

LEXINGTON, KY – The Rotary Club of Lexington  held its weekly meeting on Thursday, Jan. 4, at The Mane on Main, Chase Bank building on Main St. The guest speaker was Dr. Robert Farley, Patterson School of Diplomacy, University of Kentucky.

This meeting will also be on Zoom. For the Zoom link please email, [email protected].

If you would like to have lunch, please contact [email protected] to reserve your meal.

Few programs throughout the Rotary year are more eagerly an-ticipated than our annual look at the state of the world through the eyes of the experts at the University of Kentucky’s Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Com-merce (Patterson School). This tradition of beginning the year with prognostications of world events goes back at least forty years.
This year we are privileged to hear from Dr. Robert Farley, Senior Lecturer at the Patterson School. Dr. Harley has taught security and diplo-macy courses at the Patterson School since 2005. He also held an academ-ic position with the Department of National Security Strategy, United States Army War College from Au-gust 2018 to July 2019.
He received his BS from the University of Oregon in 1997, and his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 2004. Dr. Farley is the author of Grounded: The Case for Abolishing the United States Air Force (University Press of Kentucky, 2014), the Battleship Book (Wildside, 2016), and Patents for Power: In-tellectual Property Law and the Dif-fusion of Military Technology (Uni-versity of Chicago, 2020). He has contributed extensively to a number of journals and magazines, including the National Interest, the Diplomat: APAC, World Politics Review, and the American Prospect. Dr. Farley is also a founder and senior editor of Lawyers, Guns and Money.
The Patterson School itself has an interesting history and deep ties to the Rotary Club of Lexington. It was launched in 1959 in fulfillment of the vision of UK’s first president, Dr. James Kennedy Patterson. Upon his death in 1922, almost his entire estate was placed in a trust to be used for the creation of a college of diplo-macy to be named for his deceased son, William Andrew Patterson. Thirty-seven years later the trust had grown sufficiently large that, coupled with funding from the Common-wealth of Kentucky, the Patterson School could become a reality.
As for those Rotary ties, our Club’s own Vince Davis served as Director of the Patterson School for twenty-one years, starting in 1972. In that role he took the podium for this yearly presentation, much to the delight of his fellow Club members. Vince had military experience as an intelligence officer and naval aviator – serving in Korea – and previously received academic appointments at Princeton, Dartmouth and Denver.
Dr. Farley can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].

Rotary in Review As seen in the Wheel Horse, Jan. 11, 2024


Last week’s speaker was Dr. Robert Farley, Senior Lecturer at the University of Kentucky’s Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, who presented the “State of the World in 2024.”  This annual presentation provides Rotarians with a glimpse of what might be expected geo-politically in the new year.  Dr. Farley’s prediction is that “it’s bad—and it could get worse.”  He focused on five areas of concern and concluded with some general vibes and a bit of hope.

The first area of concern is Russia-Ukraine, a large conflict now in its third year.  It has become a stalemate and a war of attrition.  He predicts aggressive bombing by Russia as winter sets in. Israel-Palestine is the second area of concern.  The major question here is how far Israel will go with its retaliation against Hamas—and other enemies in the area.  Farley believes the geography of that part of the Middle East may ultimately be rewritten. Closely related to the Israel-Palestine conflict is activity in the Red Sea, the third area of concern.  Houthi rebel attacks, backed by the Iranian government, are destabilizing the region and impacting global commerce in a tangible way.  Nearly twelve percent of the world’s shipping goes through the Red Sea via the Suez Canal.  Farley predicted that United States air and missile strikes against the Houthis are likely be utilized to stabilized he region.

There are a number of “simmering threats” that comprise the fourth area of concern.  Some of these regional geo-political issues are new; others are centuries old.  The newest hot spot is Venezuela-Guyana and the attempt by the former to seize Guyana’s oil fields.  This area also presents a US border issue given the number of Venezuelans migrating north to our southern border.  The Russian “periphery” is also a concern.  Mother Russia is not doing well despite news from Putin’s propaganda machine.  More wars will probably break out in central Asian countries and regions, challenging the Kremlin’s ability to respond given its ongoing conflict with Ukraine.  Dr. Farley also warned us “never sleep on Korea.”  He postulates that a nuclear test by North Korea will probably be targeted around the US presidential election in November.  And, he notes that the Afghanistan/Pakistan border that has long been an issue.

The fifth and final area of concern is the many major elections in 2024, including in the US, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the European Union (EU).  The results of the latter may affect the direction of the EU’s relationship with Ukraine.  There is also a key election in Mexico which could greatly impact the response to the immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.  As Farley joked, when Mexico gets a cold, the US sneezes.

Dr. Farley concluded his remarks with some general vibes.  The changing global economy could result in tighter borders worldwide and stress global commerce and trade agreements.  Good news is that energy prices in 2024 will be manageable.  There is a global shift to the right underway.  Neo-authoritarianism will be challenged and there could be a retreat in democracy.  The liberal international order will be under stress to hold together free trade, travel, and information sharing.  Our presidential election results could affect our participation in NATO, our relationship with the EU, and how we address other geo-political issues.

Farley concluded with the hope that organizations like Rotary continue to participate in and advocate for good global citizenship.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            —Paul B. Chewning

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On Instagram