What is Foreign Exchanges?

One of the things I've noticed over several years studying Islamic history and US foreign policy is that it's hard for most Americans to get a handle on what’s happening overseas. We have a media that, when it bothers to dig in to international affairs at all, usually does so in furtherance of the conventional DC wisdom. This makes it very easy for our foreign policy to be hijacked by forces that want perpetual war, a massive military state, and the continued forcible expansion of American empire.

Foreign Exchanges exists to try to change that. My nightly international news digests collect important stories from around the world and give them to you in an easily digestible format with the context (and sometimes commentary) that you need to stay on top of what’s happening. I look for interesting perspectives on world events and US foreign policy and try to bring those perspectives to you along with my own take on those perspectives if I think it’s applicable. I also write occasional pieces about aspects of world history that I hope might familiarize people with other parts of the world (at the very least, I hope they’re interesting).

If people naturally fear the unknown, then the antidote to that is knowledge. If ignorance breeds apathy, then the solution is less ignorance. If we’re going to fight for a smarter foreign policy in Washington when we need to combat that ignorance. That's what I'm trying to achieve.

Who are you?

I’m Derek Davison. As I said above, I’ve spent several years studying US foreign policy and Islamic history, and it’s been my privilege to share what I know and my perspectives on world events for the past several years at and that’s the way it was, LobeLog, on Alhurra TV, on Newsy, and on a variety of podcasts like Chapo Trap House. I’m bringing the work I’ve been doing at attwiw and Patreon for the past couple of years to Substack.

Why subscribe?

As those of you who followed me at my old site and/or at Patreon know, I produce a lot of material. Most of that is going to be available to paid subscribers only:

News Updates

These will come to your inbox just about every night (I do take Saturdays off). A couple of nights each week I’ll make them available to the public, but if you want to stay on top of the news the only way to do that will be to subscribe.

“Today in History” Posts

These posts, which will be available to the public, cover important events in Middle Eastern, North Africa, South Asian, and European history. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.

Weekly “Ask Me Anything” Threads

Every Monday I’ll be posting a new “ask me anything” thread where subscribers can ask me about whatever’s on their mind and I’ll do my best to answer. Occasionally I might do that in a short audio segment, which is a nice segue to the next thing on this list.


At least once a week I’ll be putting out a podcast, which covers a broad range of topics from history to religion to current events. This will include interviews with a range of experts on subjects like extremism in West Africa, the political crisis in Venezuela, and the Orthodox Church. Subscribers will have full access to my backlog of podcasts, though please bear with me as I post them here because it will take some time to complete that project.

Subscriber Essays

Most weeks I’ll be writing an essay on a topic requested by one of my subscribers. These usually revolve around a historical topic (usually related to the Middle East) but I’m game for whatever is on your mind (within reason). As with the podcasts, I’ll be bringing my complete back catalogue of these essays over to Substack as quickly as possible, where they’ll be available to all subscribers.

Guest Commentaries

I’m always looking for other voices with other areas of expertise to contribute to the newsletter. Your subscriptions help make it possible for me to offer guest writers a little compensation for their time and effort. I’ve also got a catalogue of these posts that I’ll be bringing over to Substack eventually.

Thanks for reading this and I hope to see you around here!

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