The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

The Standard

The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

The Standard

Check out our latest issue

Politics Update – Sept. 15

Helen Roth
Opinions Editor: Print Daniel de Beer and Lead Opinions Editor Mia George break down the most important political stories of the past week.

Supreme Court refuses to block Texas abortion ban 

On Wednesday, Sept. 1, the U.S. Supreme Court made a 5-4 split decision of passing the newly-made abortion law in the state of Texas, the most restrictive in the nation. The way in which Texas arrived at this moment was the zenith of a conservative judicial sector and the wave of anti-abortion culture by many Christians in the state. 

Texas was one of the first states to lead a campaign against the right to abortion in the U.S., having acted shortly after the landmark Roe vs. Wade case, where a woman challenged Texas’ criminal abortion laws. However, this case, while significant, was not the initial cause for the massive anti-abortion rhetoric we see in Texas today.

In fact, what occurred was quite the opposite. Although nowadays we commonly correlate Christianity in America with conservative views on abortion, a poll conducted by the Baptist Standard in 1970 showed that 90 percent of Texas Baptist Christians believed abortion laws were too restrictive.

However, a notable shift in Texan culture throughout the 21st century is apparent with the increase in anti-abortion groups. Justified by Christianity and cataylyzed by the lax abortion laws, conservatives in Texas furthered the anti-abortion movement.

These groups gained power and recognition leading up to today, where they have gained enough supporters to shut down abortion clinics state-wide. They have disrupted abortion operations by disguising themselves at abortion clinics, when in reality, they draw pregnant women inside and talk them into keeping their child. The Supreme Court’s refusal to lift these abortion bans indicates the severity of the situation for women in Texas and a dire need for progressive ideas and reform throughout the state. 

West withdrawals from Taliban-occupied Afghanistan

For the past 20 years, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization powers have fought alongside the U.S. in Afghanistan. Yet, for the past few weeks, global superpowers have raced to completely withdraw from the now Taliban-occupied nation. 

According to The Economist, the last C-17 cargo plane left Kabul airport on August 30 at 3:30 p.m., officially marking the U.S.’ withdrawal from Afghanistan. The last Royal Air Force transporter left for Britain, along with France evacuating 3,000 people and Germany another 5,100. 

As the U.S. and its allies leave the country now under full Taliban control, the world watches in shock, questioning who is to blame for the chaos and how superpowers must now interact with Afghanistan from a distance. 

For many, the Taliban’s repressive, violent and untrustworthy rhetoric heightens Americans’ fear and paranoia regarding their relations, hence the desire to completely disengage from the country. The argument presented is that if America were to establish formal diplomatic ties with the country through aid, it would only strengthen the Taliban regime. 

However, Pakistani National Security Advisor Mooed Yusuf argues that if the U.S. were to completely isolate and marginalize the Taliban, it would do more harm than good. He warns it would repeat the mistakes made when America abandoned Afghanistan after the Soviet Union withdrawal in the 1990s. Pakistan risks receiving an overflow of refugees, putting extensive pressure on the already fragile state. 

On the other hand, some believe it would be counterproductive to dwell on the outcome of the war. Many say that if America wants to have any influence over the region, they need to start engaging now, before countries like Iran, China or Russia start manipulating the situation in Afghanistan to their benefit. 

While the U.S.’ quick withdrawal from Afghanistan indicated a threatened nation, America and its allies still have leverage over the regime. Foreign aid, which accounted for three-quarters of the government’s budget, is suspended. The West has frozen the regime’s foreign reserves and assets, per The Diplomat. 

As argued in an article published in The Economist’s Sept. 4 issue, “Do not move on, move forward.” It’s apparent that the West must engage with Afghanistan, “one transaction at a time.” As the Taliban starts lifting certain restrictions over civilian life in Afghanistan, such as keeping schools, clinics and borders open, the U.S. will resume sending aid. 

It remains unclear how repressive the Taliban will be and what life under the regime will entail. However, the U.S. and its allies must approach the nation with caution to prevent the repetition of past mistakes.

Japan’s Prime Minister resigns 

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced that he will not run for re-election this month, resigning as leader of the Liberal Democratic Party. 

Suga’s approval ratings have decreased to record low of 31.8 %, per The Japan Times. Many align this dissatisfaction with Japan’s current state of emergency and the worst coronavirus wave the country has experienced. Around 1.5 million COVID-19 cases have been recorded along with a slow and inefficient vaccination scheme. 

Furthermore, Japan’s decision to host the Olympic Games this year was widely unpopular among the Japanese population because of the pressures the pandemic presented. Suga initially believed that the Olympics would increase popularity, yet since the games, his ratings have sunk even lower. 

On Sept. 3, the secretary-general of Suga’s LDP, explained his decision by saying that he wanted to prioritise handling the coronavirus wave and hence, will not run in the next leadership election. 

With the general election only a few months away, Suga’s resignation opens up a position for a new leader of the third-largest economy in the world. For Japan, Suga’s decision to resign marks an end of an era, per Time. Suga was the predecessor cabinet secretary for eight years before he became prime minister, thereby becoming “the longest administration in Japanese constitutional history.” 

While uncertainty over who will be the next leader remains, many say that change in leadership will not be as significant as some make it out to be. In fact, a fresh face is exactly what the party needs in order to send a message of hope and reform to the Japanese public.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
Daniel de Beer
Daniel de Beer, Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Online
Daniel de Beer (’23) is the Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Online of The Standard. Having grown up in Brazil and lived in four different countries, de Beer is a citizen of the world. De Beer began his journalistic career in Grade 9, when he joined The Standard as a Staff Writer. His hobbies include playing backgammon, swimming, and competitive chair spinning.
Mia George
Mia George, Lead Opinions Editor
Mia George (‘23) is the Lead Opinions Editor for The Standard and this is her fourth year on the publication. George joined The Standard with an eagerness to relay her knowledge and passion on current events and global issues to the High School community. George continues to actively engage in understanding the world through her participation in the Debate Club. Outside of school, George enjoys sports such as tennis and skiing.
Helen Roth
Helen Roth, Co Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Online
Helen Roth (’21) is the Co Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Online for The Standard. Helen began her journalism career in Grade 8 as an Opinions editor. She loves to inform others about issues our world faces today, as well as simultaneously learning more about the world around her. 

Comments (0)

All The Standard Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *