Third Culture Queen vol. I

Semi-weekly rants on drugs, empires, and philosophy

Welcome to Third Culture Queen! 🏳️‍🌈

I’m excited to be trying my hand at a newsletter again. Unlike other times, I’m being upfront with what TCQ is: Kyle Borland ranting into the void.

As you already know or as you will learn, I make categorical jumps and connections that don’t make sense (to you) – so be prepared to roll with a punch or two (or ask me).

I will be providing my own commentary, based on articles I curate and share, but I encourage you to respectfully engage (re: come for me!) in any replies or comment threads. Sometimes there will be structure, other times expect (mostly filtered) stream of consciousness, and I might even dabble in a podcast (no longer than 8 min 🤝).

Truthfully, I don’t know what I want this to be other than a more formal way of collecting my turbulent thoughts. The first step is writing consistently, and I hope y’all will tag along for the ride. And, if you like what you see, share with your friends! 🙏


Things to Know (links in headlines):


Things to Know (links in headlines):


Formally, the US designates China and Russia as its sole “Great Power competitors.” I understand why from an international relations (re: ego) standpoint but I find it more realistic to think of the following as today’s power players: the United States, China, the European Union, India, Japan, and Russia.

These are the nations others look to in order to protect whichever silo of the world economy they see themselves in most. This is most challenging when dealing with the interventionist military powers of the US, China, and Russia. The EU and Japan are more economic and regulatory powers than mighty sticks. Whereas India is still developing what kind of power it’s going to be (spoiler alert: it’s not looking great). Most nations try to straddle a happy medium between the behemoths, but there are many determined to strike their own path(s).

Those “regional” or “rising” powers include: Brazil, Iran, Saudi Arabia + Gulf States, Turkey, and (in the coming years) the African Union / African Continental Free Trade Area. This is by no means a perfect grouping or stratification. We could add / remove nations until we were blue-in-the-face – and we might! – but let’s go with this for now.

Join the discussion!

Further reading (links in pub names):

  • After Rupture with U.S., Turkey Looks to Russia for Fighter Jets | Foreign Policy

  • Mercosur bloc leaders meet to fast-track EU trade deal | Al Jazeera

  • Economic 'game changer'? African leaders launch free-trade zone | Reuters

  • America's War Plans for China, Russia Will Not Work, New Report |

  • Japan still leads in Southeast Asia infrastructure race, even as China ramps up belt and road investments: report | South China Morning Post


Things to Know (links in headlines):