Third Culture Queen vol. 26

Pax Americana is over, and we won't know what's next for awhile.

Sorry for the delay in publishing this week! I caught an infection of some kind and haven’t been able to look at a computer for extended periods of time since Saturday. I’m feeling better today, so I’m hoping the last of the gunk is on its way out.

I waited for Trump’s press conference on Syria this morning before sending the newsletter today to make sure you had the most up-to-date information. I live-tweeted the short presser which you can read below.

On Nov 1, Third Culture Queen will be adding a subscription. I really enjoy putting this newsletter together, but it is time-consuming and a girl's got to eat. There will be occasional public posts; however, you’ll need to subscribe to continue receiving foreign policy updates on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Each newsletter will be broken into the following three sections:

  • Superpower Struggles – America, China, EU, and Russia

  • Rising Regions – Eurasia, the Indo-Pacific, and the Global South

  • Non-State Factors – Cities, Clergy, Climate, and Corporations.

Along with semi-daily updates, subscribers will also get access to future podcasts, interviews, and other content created along the way.

Thank you for reading TCQ so far, and I hope you’ll come along for the journey!

Happy Reading,


PS – Want an impeachment and 2020 election update? Read it here.

“If our promises are meaningless, how will our allies ever trust us? If we can’t have faith in our nation’s principles, why would the men and women of this nation join the military?

And if they don’t join, who will protect us?”

Admiral William H. McRaven

Superpower Struggles

American Empire

Syria is now in the hands of Assad, Erdogan, and Putin. Maybe one day the United States will realize that interventionism doesn’t work; however, our inability to learn that lesson before the Syrian Quagmire dragged whatever was left of American credibility through the mud. And, set it on fire.

China’s Belt and Road

Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Xinjiang

Trade War

Influence and Reach

European Erraticism

Accession talks for Albania and North Macedonia – the beginning of the formal process to join the EU – were blocked by France.

Brexit: EU/UK reached a draft agreement and parliament accepted it, but not the PM’s timetable. The divorce that won’t end: Brussels will 110% grant an extension to the October 31 deadline – even with Macron and Merkel disagreeing on whether or not to continue – that Boris Johnson is required by law to request.

Europe is an economic superpower, but it hasn’t yet figured out how to operate collectively on a global scale. This weakness keeps the EU from wielding the influence it should have on the world stage given the size of its economy and the historical power of its members. Particularly, in regards to Africa, a continent where Europe has taken its connections for granted, China has outpaced the union in critical investment.

Russian Revisionism

Russia’s ongoing war on the liberal democratic order has only intensified as the US continues its retreat from global leadership. In addition to the top-level moves seen at daily press conferences, Putin makes covert moves to directly destabilize liberal democracies wherever cracks are showing.

Ukrainians protested by the tens of thousands against the proposed autonomy plan for eastern Ukraine. It is viewed as a “full capitulation” to Russia.

Yearning for influence:

Rising Regions


The Indo-Pacific

What do middle and regional powers do during great power competition?

The Global South

Africa in the news: Tunisia and Mozambique vote, Nigeria closes borders, and Kenya opens new railway (Brookings)

Brazil developed missile capable of reaching most of South America, putting Venezuela and rest of continent on edge. (Rio Times)

Cambodia’s leader amassed wealth overseas for his allies and relatives.

Chile’s cost of living protests intensifies, with 11 people dying amongst the chaos.

Cuba hit with new sanctions from US Commerce Department.

Egypt uncovered 30 mummies in Luxor, the largest find in more than 100 years.

“Police professionalization” helped produce death squads in countries like El Salvador and mass incarceration in the United States.

The Trump admin released critical USAID to Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala after all three nations caved to asylum-related arm twisting.

Venezuela wins seat on UN Human Rights Council despite US pressure.

Non-State Factors | Cities, Clergy, Climate & Corps

America’s affordable housing crisis plagues cities of all sizes, and red-state capitals like Baton Rouge, LA are making it even harder for big metros like New Orleans to address the underlying issues.

Four drug companies – McKesson, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen and Teva – reach a last-minute $260m settlement in opioid litigation. (WSJ)

Green New Deal goes global as 100 cities committed to climate action. (Curbed)

Montgomery, Alabama – a majority Black city and one of the capitals of the Confederacy – just elected its first Black mayor, Steven Reed.

Prescription pill residue is finding its way into US waterways and treatment plants.According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 60% of American adults take at least one prescription pill every day and water testing results don’t accurately reflect the risks of tap water stemming from our modern lifestyles.

Stelida, Greece – a prehistoric quarry on the northwest coast of Naxos – is home to evidence that human activity on the island may have spanned up to 200,000 years.

UAW/GM reached a tentative agreement to end the strike. Will workers approve?