‘People feel afraid’: UNCW professor weighs in on U.S. conflict with Iran


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — With tensions rising in the conflict between the United States and Iran, many are unsure of what’s to come.

“People feel afraid. This is just normal and natural,” UNCW professor Daniel Masters said.

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Masters is the Chair of the International Studies Department and has a doctoral degree in political science. Among many things, he studies domestic and international conflict.

He says this fear people have is valid, but the likelihood of imminent war and the return of the draft is very low.

“Iran doesn’t have the ability to stand toe-to-toe with the United States in a conventional war and I don’t see any allies rushing to Iran’s side saying they would fight alongside them,” Masters said. “There are allies there, but they’re not necessarily wanting to put themselves in a battlefield to stand with the United States.”

But a low intensity conflict is possible.

“This would involve terrorism in the region, use of proxies to attack what might be U.S. interest or U.S. allies, general harassment, cyber attacks, things of that nature,” he said.

He says we should be aware of our surroundings.

With bases like Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune in our backyard, it’s likely we’ll start to see increased military presence in the form of more training flights, even military vehicles in the area.

Masters explains the most important thing for us as civilians.

“The thing I always say is keep yourself informed,” he said.

He says this means gathering your information from reliable sources.

“Stay away from social media as your source of information,” Masters said. “It’s not going to be a good source of information for you on this. It’s going to generate more anxiety.”

That anxiety looks different for everyone.

Some calling for military action, some wanting to step away.

“Don’t judge others for how they’re reacting to a similar situation,” Masters said. “Everybody’s afraid, everybody’s afraid of what this could mean in the future.”

The future, in a perfect world, may not be so scary.

“It’s always possible that this allows for an opportunity in which to try and reset and go back to the negotiating table,” he said.

In the meantime, Masters extends his advice.

“Never challenge anyone’s patriotism in how they look at and respond to these events. Again, people are reacting from a place of fear,” he said.

Masters, along with 4 other experts from UNCW, will be hosting a panel discussion on this issue January 27 at 6pm on UNCW’s campus in Warwick Ballroom 3. The event is free and the public is welcome to attend. For more information, click here.