Hi, and welcome to my home on the internets. “and that’s the way it was” is a blog devoted to writing about, well, anything that piques my curiosity, really, but if you stick around you’ll notice some definite themes. I write quite a bit about the Middle East (especially Iran and Turkey), Islam, terrorism, repressive governments, and America’s role in the world. Less frequently, I write about Europe, especially Russia, and Africa, at least insofar as things happen in Africa that intersect with some of the other things I write about (Islam, repressive governments, and terrorism). But I do try to stretch out whenever possible, especially when it requires me to digest a lot of information about something new. I like doing that.
There are a lot of sites out there that cover all of these things, so thanks for choosing mine. I think you’ll find the perspective unique. I put myself somewhere between realism and hippie idealism, in that I recognize America’s limitations and failures even as I see the potential for us to be better and smarter than we usually are. I also try to take a longer view of things, both backward and forward, than you might find elsewhere. I write a lot about history and the historical context of current events, particularly when it comes to the Middle East (that’s my educational background, after all), and I try to look beyond the immediate crisis to those long-term ramifications that often bite the United States in its collective rear when it comes to foreign policy. Where a die-hard realist might say it’s better to condone a repressive dictatorship in the name of present stability, I’ll often wonder if maybe the short-term instability of supporting democratic upheavals abroad isn’t worth it in the long-run. Maybe it’s not, but I think it’s important to ask the question.
So who am I? My name is Derek Davison. My credentials include Master’s degrees in public policy from Carnegie Mellon University and in Middle East Studies at the University of Chicago, as well as a stint working overseas, in Qatar, for about a year and a half, during but in no way related to the Iraq War. After feeling like I was spinning my wheels in a Ph.D. program in Chicago, my wife’s career led me to the DC-area, where I’ve been trying to make a career out of the two things I enjoy the most: research and writing. I do a lot of that here, but you can also find my work out there on the world wide web and, if you’re an aficionado of Arabic-language television, you might even see me there someday.
I started this blog intending that I would remain anonymous, because I wanted to keep it cordoned off from my studies and eventual job search, but as my life has changed direction this blog has sort of become my “job search,” or at least a way to show prospective employers what kind of work I can do. So I’m unveiling the unknown guy behind this modest little blog, and letting the world know that I’m out here, I love to write, and I would love to write for you if you need that sort of thing. Seriously, I’ll write about anything, although I’ve been burned by that sort of thing in the past.
So that’s me. On Twitter I am @dwdavison9318, and over on Facebook (*shudder*) I’ve created a page for this blog here. Please go “like” the blog there if you’re into that sort of thing, but don’t expect me to stop by there any more frequently than I do now, which is about once a week or whenever my phone buzzes with some alert or another. I’m also on Tumblr; I tend to just post links there to my writing here, but every once in a while I do put something original there. If you would like to email me for some reason, attwiw at gmail dot com usually works. Thanks for indulging me in this bit of self-absorption, and always thanks for reading. I hope you’ll stick around.