About This Blog

Me at Downtown

Dear Reader,

It is my hope that this page will tell you everything you need to know in order to (1) Navigate my blog with ease; (2) Understand its origin and purpose, and; (3) Disclaim any and all professional affiliations.

(1) Above and below, you’ll see links to the Pages within this blog.  You can find my brief bio in About Me, as well as a list of all my posts under Contents.  Some of those posts have accompanying Audio files.  And you can see some photos of me, my friends, and my family in the Gallery (also in the slideshow below).

(2) I created this blog shortly after becoming active on Twitter (@JAFriedel).  While Twitter is a great forum for interacting with other writers, thinkers, and even policymakers, it doesn’t allow much in the way of content-generation over 140 characters.  Right around the same time that I became Twitter-literate (Twitterate, if you will), my co-worker Jonathan Prohov (@JonathanProhov), then-Counterterrorism and Intelligence Research Assistant to Matt Levitt (@Levitt_Matt)  at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (@washinstitute), encouraged me to write my own article based on an off-handed thought of mine.  In the midst of the Syrian Civil War, when Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against rebels and civilians in the suburbs of Damascus, the British House of Commons voted against joining US-led military strikes.  This got me thinking, “What does this mean for the US-UK Special Relationship?”  So I researched the topic and submitted the article to several national Op-Ed boards and foreign affairs journals.  It wasn’t picked up, but I figured that’s no reason that interested readers can’t still access my piece.

Enter: this blog.

I decided to start by archiving my better writings from my years as an undergrad at the University of Pennsylvania.  While the vast majority of my pieces relate to International Relations in the Middle East, you’ll also find some diversity on my Contents page.  This includes some original poetry, as well as my graduation speeches.

(3) This blog is entirely a personal website.  It does not reflect the policies or positions of any of my past, present, or future employers.  Any links to relevant articles at the bottom of my posts, likewise, are not endorsements of any kind.

I hope you enjoy!  I welcome any and all comments, suggestions, and jokes.  To paraphrase Evelyn Beatrice Hall’s biography of Voltaire, “I may not always reply and I may not always agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”