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Columbia Political Review

Columbia Political Review The Columbia Political Review is a multi-partisan undergraduate-run publication at Columbia University. Our mission is to provide an open forum for long-form political thought on campus.

The magazine hosts writers and accepts pitches from all over the ideological spectrum; our mission is to provide an open forum for long-form political thought on campus. We cover both international and domestic issues.

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In this piece, Yasmine Dahlberg (CC'23) examines Sweden’s reluctance regarding its future with the military alliance. Sw...
05/13/2022
Sweden and NATO: From Neutrality to Reality — COLUMBIA POLITICAL REVIEW

In this piece, Yasmine Dahlberg (CC'23) examines Sweden’s reluctance regarding its future with the military alliance. Sweden’s self-proclaimed “neutrality” and “nonalignment” have become the subject of debate in recent years, and Dahlberg points out that the arguments in favor of NATO membership are compelling.

“Sweden’s reliance on past post-war security arrangements are no longer convincing since Russia has shattered that understanding by choosing aggression over diplomacy. Remaining non-aligned would be tantamount to ignoring the changed security environment.”

Although Putin used Ukraine’s decision to join NATO as his initial justification for invasion, Russian threats and aggression have heightened security concerns and forced the militarily nonaligned Scandinavian countries to choose sides. As a result, Prime Minister of Sweden Magdalena Anderss

Although the pink tax is a relatively new phenomenon in marketing, it has quickly consumed multiple industries, causing ...
05/07/2022
Taxing Gender — COLUMBIA POLITICAL REVIEW

Although the pink tax is a relatively new phenomenon in marketing, it has quickly consumed multiple industries, causing women to inadvertently suffer for products that are solely cosmetically different from items marketed towards men. Maxwell Lurken-Tvrdik (CC ’25) explores the emergence of the pink tax as well as how it affects products and perpetuates wealth inequalities.

“While multiple states have begun efforts to ban or have already banned the tampon tax, they have neglected a massive amount of products and services that are upcharged merely based on the gender they are marketed to. It is important to remember that the pink tax is not a legitimate tax. Instead, it is a marketing ploy that forces users of feminine-appearing items to pay more for products that have no non-cosmetic differences from masculine products.”

March 15, 2022, marked the 26th annual Equal Pay Day in the United States. Yet women, on average, still make less than their male counterparts, earning around 83 cents for every dollar a man makes. Although the wage gap has decreased by nearly 23 cents over the past 50 years, there are still sig

In this piece, Catherine Li (CC’24) analyzes the impacts of Mississippi’s Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s He...
05/04/2022
From Mississippi to the Supreme Court: How 50 Years of Reproductive Rights are Crumbling — COLUMBIA POLITICAL REVIEW

In this piece, Catherine Li (CC’24) analyzes the impacts of Mississippi’s Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on the future of reproductive rights, specifically in conservative states like Mississippi. Abortion bans disproportionately affect women of color, low-income women, and young women who have already been failed by insufficient healthcare systems. Millions of lives are hanging in the balance, and reproductive justice has never been more important than right now.

“Republican-controlled states perpetuate a cycle of poverty, racism, and inadequate healthcare, and the outcome of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization could devastate the lives of millions of women already plagued by insufficient reproductive rights. To reverse Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey is to regress society and deny a woman’s fundamental rights while endangering those who will no longer have safe access to legal abortions.”

https://www.cpreview.org/blog/2022/5/from-mississippi-to-the-supreme-court-how-50-years-of-reproductive-rights-are-crumbling

The last abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi is fighting for its life as the Supreme Court evaluates the constitutionality of pre-viability abortion bans in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Extending federal protection of the right to bodily autonomy and abortions during t

In this feature, Amelie de Leon (BC ‘25) hones in on the Philippines’ May 2022 elections, discussing the role of histori...
05/02/2022
Bongbong Marcos’ Presidential Campaign Is Actively Manipulating Filipinos’ Collective Memory — COLUMBIA POLITICAL REVIEW

In this feature, Amelie de Leon (BC ‘25) hones in on the Philippines’ May 2022 elections, discussing the role of historical amnesia, a strategy of rewriting historical narratives, and its consequential employment from one of the presidential candidates, son of former Philippine dictator Bongbong Marcos. “Bongbong’s candidacy paints an ominous picture of a country whose history of oppression and tyranny has been tailored and even effaced to fit the needs of those in power. Amidst the backdrop of a raging election cycle, the “martial law years,” a 14-year period spanning 1972 to 1986 under the leadership of Bongbong’s father, have been propagandized as a golden era of affluence and prosperity, ultimately invalidating the thousands of individuals directly impacted by the elder Marcos’ dictatorship.”

https://www.cpreview.org/blog/2022/5/bongbong-marcos-presidential-campaign-is-actively-manipulating-filipinos-collective-memory

“Perception is real, truth is not.”   These pertinent words, spoken by the Philippines’ former first lady Imelda Marcos, wife of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, form the building blocks of contemporary Filipino politics. Perception, or the perception of truth , takes precedence in thi

There are predictions that inflation could cost Democrats control of Congress in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections. It...
04/29/2022
Rising Gas Prices: A Danger to Democrats in the 2022 Midterms? — COLUMBIA POLITICAL REVIEW

There are predictions that inflation could cost Democrats control of Congress in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections. It has been a trend in the nation’s political history for the incumbent president’s party to do poorly in midterm elections, and national polls and focus groups find that many Americans are worried about inflation and rising costs. In this op-ed, Saniya Gaitonde (BC ‘25) looks into potential impacts of the recent spike in gas prices.

“Biden’s messaging seems to have been successful in averting some consequences the Democratic party might have inadvertently suffered in the midterms due to the rising gas prices. Americans’ concerns about the foreign conflict seem to have taken precedence over their concerns about personal costs at this time, sending an important message about public opinion.”

The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on global trade created an inability to meet the soaring demands for consumer products in the U.S. As a result, in January 2022, inflation in the U.S. reached its highest level in 40 years , with prices rising by 7.5% from one year ago. The rise in consumer price in

In the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Claire Burke (BC ‘25) explores the impact of lessened Ukrainian-Russi...
04/28/2022
Why Is Everyone Talking About Wheat? — COLUMBIA POLITICAL REVIEW

In the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Claire Burke (BC ‘25) explores the impact of lessened Ukrainian-Russian wheat exports on the global market. Highlighting the particular reliance on these exports by Middle Eastern and North African countries, Burke argues that to prevent situations of potential food and political instability, western countries must be aware of their impact on the market. Meanwhile, Middle Eastern and North African countries must reimagine their agricultural sectors with a focus on community-based production and supporting women agricultural laborers.

“Existing in a state of food insecurity is unsustainable for any region, and Middle Eastern and North African advocates are calling for MENA nations to invest in more resilient local food systems. For decades, the agricultural sector in North Africa has been marginalized in favor of global trade and manufacturing, leaving many without the means to produce domestic products. A shift towards food sovereignty and ecological farming is critical."

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had devastating consequences on Ukrainian lives and land. Countless innocent lives have been lost to senseless brutality and violence, and the ramifications of the conflict will undoubtedly ripple throughout Ukraine and the international community for years to come...

Defense programs consume a disproportionate amount of federal resources despite the fact that nontraditional security is...
04/27/2022
Time to Demilitarize U.S. National Security Policy — COLUMBIA POLITICAL REVIEW

Defense programs consume a disproportionate amount of federal resources despite the fact that nontraditional security issues carry far more serious implications for the safety and economic well-being of American citizens than most instances of foreign military aggression.

“Inflated defense spending and expensive overseas commitments not only drain the country of resources needed to compete with great power rivals over the long term, but also impede our ability to address nontraditional security challenges, which pose far greater threats to U.S. national security than belligerent state actors. A national security policy that relies primarily on civilian instruments of national power would better reflect the priorities of ordinary American citizens and pay strategic dividends well into the future.”

The Pitfalls of Great Power Competition The withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in August 2021 not only ended America’s 20-year war, but also solidified a deeper shift towards great power competition. In recent years, the United States has fundamentally refocused its national security p

Democratic leaders repeatedly fail to enact effective gun violence legislation and pose an elusive threat to gun control...
04/26/2022
Voting Blue Is Not the Be-All-End-All of Ending Gun Violence in America — COLUMBIA POLITICAL REVIEW

Democratic leaders repeatedly fail to enact effective gun violence legislation and pose an elusive threat to gun control policy while continuing to place the blame of inaction on Republicans and the National Rifle Association. In this op-ed, Lauren Winkleblack (BC ‘23) suggests that gun violence prevention work in America is led not by Democratic politicians, but rather by grassroots organizations and activists and that voting blue is not enough to secure gun control policy. We must actively donate to and volunteer with anti-gun violence organizations to garner American support and end mass shootings in the United States.

“Democrats are increasingly more likely to prioritize donor-friendly politics and elections and to retract from the discourse surrounding gun control in fear of losing campaign donations. The true fight for gun control is not led by Democratic politicians and party leaders. Rather, it is championed by activists and students affected directly by gun violence in America who are working without the financial support of Congress and helping Democratic leaders take accountability for their lack of action.”

Following a mass shooting in America, the resounding sentiment from Republicans is to keep victims and their families in Americans’ thoughts and prayers. While Democratic leaders repeatedly push back, claiming effective policy and legislation are the sole means of preventing mass shootings, the De...

Though global tech companies like Apple are notorious for uncompetitive market practices, monopoly power in the US has p...
04/25/2022
Seeds of Greed: America’s Growing Agricultural Monopolies — COLUMBIA POLITICAL REVIEW

Though global tech companies like Apple are notorious for uncompetitive market practices, monopoly power in the US has pervaded the economy in ways far more insidious. In this op-ed, Daniel Kim (CC’24) reveals the monopolistic agendas of agricultural corporations and their constant manipulation of the legislative process.

“Currently, 90% of all soybean seeds in the United States are sold by Monsanto, a subsidiary of German conglomerate Bayer. As the sole producer of Roundup, an ubiquitous herbicide used by both average Americans and farmers alike, Monsanto specifically modified “Roundup Ready” seeds to be genetically resistant to its own herbicide, giving farmers no choice other than to buy from Monsanto itself. What’s more, farmers who wish to buy these patented seeds must also sign a contract with Monsanto promising never to save or resell excess seeds, meaning that farmers are forced to repurchase from Monsano year after year, harvest after harvest.”

Although the antiquated monopoly powers of Standard Oil and U.S. Steel have been replaced by the advent of notorious tech giants Google and Amazon, uncompetitive monopoly power in the US has manifested itself in ways far more diverse and subtle within the present market space. Across industries, pow

In this piece, columnist Anna Bartoux (GS’23) writes about the dangers of approaching cyber-conflict with the lens of nu...
04/23/2022
Double Trouble: Cyber Deterrence in a Nuclear Armed World — COLUMBIA POLITICAL REVIEW

In this piece, columnist Anna Bartoux (GS’23) writes about the dangers of approaching cyber-conflict with the lens of nuclear deterrence theory. She argues that the rise of cyber poses new dangers to the international community as it increases global nuclear vulnerability, and with it, the possibility of nuclear conflict. Cyber tools are novel and unique forms of power, but if policymakers fail to realize their security implications and do not adapt their conception of deterrence accordingly, societies worldwide may find themselves in a threatening position.

“Some have argued that the best defense against cyber attacks may not be deterrence, but rather resilience. If a country can endure the attack long enough to find a patch against it, its aggressor will have to start from scratch and find another way to get to its goal. The promise of massive retaliation in line with traditional deterrence logic indeed falls short in cyberspace, a factor that President Obama recognized as early as 2015 when he stated, 'with nuclear weapons there is a binary. Either there are no nuclear explosions or there are big ones and it is a real problem. In cyberspace, there are all sorts of gradations.'”

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought prospects of nuclear escalation back to the forefront of Western policy debates. In response to NATO’s economic sanctions, Vladimir Putin ordered that the country’s nuclear forces be put on a higher level of alert, a move that some experts deem purely

In this feature piece, staff writer Betel Tadesse uses recent Supreme Court decisions to convey why we should resist cou...
04/22/2022
The Supreme Court Relies on Our Apathy. Cases that Wither Voting and Labor Rights Prove It. — COLUMBIA POLITICAL REVIEW

In this feature piece, staff writer Betel Tadesse uses recent Supreme Court decisions to convey why we should resist court apathy. By taking a dive into several specific court cases, Tadesse illustrates the Court’s calculated deterioration of voting and labor rights. The infringement of these rights serves as a precursor to the Court’s dismantling of paramount liberties that are integral to the fabric of American society. This attack on fundamental privileges, fueled by public apathy, can only be combated by increased awareness and engagement.

"The Court is relying on collective apathy and skepticism, coupled with its intricate and inaccessible nature, to push monumental and likely controversial decisions into motion without the public even noticing. From labor, voting, and reproductive justice, the Supreme Court is effectively tainting our privileges."

The Advent of Court Apathy  The ‘Marble Palace’ inscribed with the words “Equal Justice Under the Law” houses the United States Supreme Court, esteemed by many as the upper echelon of law and justice. Many, though, see the Supreme Court as a purely ornamental and feeble institution. To ...

As rents reach all-time highs, leaving tenants without a place to go, housing policies across the United States are comi...
04/20/2022
It Is Time To Exclude Exclusionary Zoning From America’s Housing Policy — COLUMBIA POLITICAL REVIEW

As rents reach all-time highs, leaving tenants without a place to go, housing policies across the United States are coming under fire. In this feature, staff writer Max Hermosillo (CC ’25) discusses the exigent housing crisis taxing local communities. Focusing on the San Francisco Bay Area, he argues that exclusionary zoning policies reinforce racial and economic segregation and must be eliminated.

“When Congress finally passed the Fair Housing Act, it eliminated multiple forms of exclusionary zoning by prohibiting housing discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, sex, and, as amended, ability, and familial status. However, Congress failed to address one major issue: class-based discrimination. Because the Fair Housing Act does not explicitly prevent housing discrimination based on income, predominantly high-income (and white) neighborhoods have exploited this loophole to prevent low-income individuals from moving into their communities.”

The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the world’s largest technology and innovation hubs. Known for the several Fortune 500 companies and research universities it hosts, the Bay Area consistently ranks at the top of America’s most expensive places to live, and for good reason. Between December 20...

The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill passed in Florida, and it has sparked outrage amongst the LGBTQ+ community and advocates as the...
04/19/2022
Classrooms Should be Colorful: The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill is a Detrimental Backslide — COLUMBIA POLITICAL REVIEW

The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill passed in Florida, and it has sparked outrage amongst the LGBTQ+ community and advocates as the state attempts to silence any conversation relating to queerness in the classroom. In this pitch article, Olivia Deming (CC ‘24) argues that we should be saying gay and separating party polarization from hatred.

“Same-sex marriage was legalized nationally in the United States by the Supreme Court only seven years ago in 2015. It is precisely legislation like ‘Don’t Say Gay’ that reminds us how precarious the rights of marginalized communities are. The Republican Party will say the bill is merely for the sake of parent involvement—it is not. It is to suppress identities and livelihoods. Considering that the Republican Party favors limited government, they consistently spin their legislative web into places it does not belong, such as women’s bodies, doctor’s offices, and now classrooms, to legislate where they have no business doing so.”

In a legislative move eerily reminiscent of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policies for gay, lesbian, and bisexual people in the military, Florida lawmakers have passed a bill that would prohibit any discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools from kindergarten through thi...

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National Day of Prayer and Protest Cast thy bread upon the water!!! My Name is John Burl Smith a disabled veteran, activist and author of “The 400th” From Slavery to Hip Hop; these are just a few of the honors I have achieved as a proud American citizen. However, there are many things I am not proud of as an American; the most prominent is the level of gun violence and gun culture that is growing across this country. It seems, as a nation, America is trying to return to the days of the late 1800 hundreds, everyone carried guns, when lynching and massacres of Native People were commonplace. The Gun Violence Archive says 147 mass shootings have occurred so far in 2021. Their definition of mass shooting is a minimum of four gunshot victims. President Joe Biden has announced a half-dozen executive actions to combat what he called an “epidemic and an international embarrassment” of gun violence in America. Moreover, AD Merrick Garland has ordered an overhaul of guns, especially “long gun” policy and definition. Both of these actions are sorely needed, American citizens need to reinforce government actions, by expressing their outrage with the current wave of mass shooting and the easy access to guns. I have joined with concerned citizens, activists and political leaders like Black Live Matter, Movement for Black Live, The Squad, Mothers Against Gun Violence and many others in calling for a national day of prayer and protest May, the on Saturday before Mother’s Day. We are coming together to not only raise our voices and march, but gather in churches, parks and homes to mourn and commemorate the huge toll of over 12,400 women, men and children who have been killed as a result of gun violence in the United States in 2021 alone thus far. These gatherings will call the names of victims and release balloons, with names attached to carry prayers and love aloft. This “National Day of Prayer and Protest” is just a small effort against the billions in blood money of advertising and political power of the gun lobby in America, but the mothers, fathers, siblings, friends and other loved one can say “NO” to murder and mayhem, we in America are enduring. We will never relent and surrender to those who live large on the blood money from death, pain and grief. We ask all Americans to sing, pray and protest with us on May 8th the Saturday before Mother’s Day. Someone needed to say this out loud (SOL).
Opinions Are Like Opinions; Everyone Has One John Burl Smith I will grant that everyone has a right to their opinion, however all opinions are not equally valid! Anyone can express their opinion on any subject, but because they feel strongly about the subject, does not mean their points are well taken and valid regarding the information on which they base their opinion. Three perfect examples are race, racism and the nature of life and impact of racism on descendants of American slavery. For most people, especially in America, these words or subjects are all the same and everyone has a right to express their opinion on them, and I principle I agree but not in fact. Again however, simply or merely expressing one’s opinion does not give it validity. Let us look closer and examine these words one at a time. Race identifies groups of humans, as distinct from other groups, because of their supposed physical or genetic traits, which is shared by the group and classifies them together on the basis of common history, nationality, or geographic distribution or genealogical lineage. Racism, on the other hand, is the belief that a group of humans possessing different behavioral traits or corresponding physical appearance is valued as less then separated and divided based on another group’s belief of superiority to another race. Their belief of superiority is used to justify prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against the less devalued race, ethnicity or group, which is often based in social perceptions of biological differences. These views are expressed as social actions, norms, practices, beliefs, or by political systems that rank or rate different races as inherently superior or inferior to each other, based on presumed shared inheritable traits, abilities, or qualities. When examining America these definitions and practices were applied to slaves and their progeny when the Founding Fathers wrote and ratified the US Constitution. All those definitions apply to the nature and quality of life descendants of American slavery have endured based on the impact of race and racism, which defined every aspect of life in America for them. This is why opinion is the battlefield over words on which any and everyone feel they have an equal right not only to express their thoughts on these subjects and their opinion has equal validity. Here is where 3 more definitions—equal, equality and equity are important. The etymology of the word “equal” is from the Latin word “æqualis”, meaning “uniform”, “identical”, or “equal”, from aequus (“level”, “even”, or “just”). The first use of an equal sign, equivalent to 14 x +15=71 in modern notation, as opposed to ≠ unequal. On the other hand, equality is the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities. It is synonymous to fairness, justness, equitability, impartiality, even-handedness and egalitarianism, which slavery’s descendants have never experienced in America. An example is “An organization aiming to promote racial equality.” Lastly, equity is the quality of being fair and impartial—equity of treatment. It is synonymous to fairness, fair-mindedness, the value of the shares issued by a company, value, worth, valuation or alternatively—the value of a mortgaged property after deduction of charges against it. My point here is to show people use these 3 words alternatively or interchangeably, but obviously their meanings are not synonymous or equivalent. However, when talking about the nature of life for descendants of American slavery and the impact of racism on them, white people are allowed to shoehorn these words into their opinion pieces to create a false equivalency, under the guise of “everyone having a right to express their opinion.” This is acceptable to white people because under the definition of racism “social actions, practices, beliefs, or political systems that used racism to discriminate, view themselves as superior, while viewing others as inherently inferior and see equality as a zero sum game. They use terms in their opinion pieces, like “critical race theory” to make request for justice by descendants of American slavery seem equivalent to socialism or communism, rather than demand for equality and equity. Looking at American history there is no denying the facts that the American government is racist, discriminatory and genocidal in terms of its policies against descendants of American slavery. Moreover, slavery itself was genocide but once bond slavery ended, federal, state and local governments erected the system of “Jim Crow” segregation, convict leasing and share cropping, which was tantamount to slavery without chains, designed to disenfranchise slavery’s descendants until the 1970s. These are the facts of history that rightwing conservatives refuse to acknowledge in their opinion pieces and try to make it seem, white people today had anything to do with slavery, therefore, white people today are exonerated and extricated from demand by slavery’s descendants for equity. Patrice Onwuka offered an opinion piece in The Hill “The truth about racism in Congress” (4-1-21) where he creates a dichotomy of equality and equity where there must be a choice between the them, as he railed against Senators Tammy Duckworth and Mazie Hirono because they are pressing Pres. Biden to appoint more Hispanics, Blacks, AAPI and LGBTQ to major administration positions. White people see no equality or equity issue, looking back at all the “white only” administration since 1789—231 years—but rightwing conservatives are up in arms and ready to attack the Capitol a second time because a handful of nonwhite people have been given posts. But what is being overlooked here and I agree with Sens. Duckworth and Hirono that Pres. Biden’s major cabinet position has gone to whites. White people may as well get over it. The American electorate has changed forever and for the best. President Biden’s DOJ must take on Republican legislatures’ “Jim Crow” laws in the courts to guarantee that Republicans apply those laws equally and equitably. Polls in Black, brown, yellow and red communities cannot have 5,000 voters and white polls have 3,500 or Native People have to travel 15 miles to the polls, while white ranchers only have to go 5 miles to vote. We demand the DOJ insure there is equity and a level playing field. Synonymously, young progressives are not intimidated by Republican voter suppression laws and are going to take on Republicans in courts, the streets and at the ballot box. We have the numbers and we are determined to turn those numbers out, come 2022 and we cannot wait to face Republicans at the polls. Are high school ID cards considered acceptable voting identification? High school seniors will lead the charge, because they want greater access to a college education and a jobs program in the high tech, infrastructure and climate change programs Pres. Biden is trying to bring on line. High school seniors were a major portion of new voters in Georgia, and the 18 to 25 demographic that put Pres. Biden in the White House, and Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in the Senate. All young progressive are asking is equal access to the ballot box, and that is the job of Pres. Biden, the DOJ and Congress, if they want to stay in power.
EarthEcho International Water Challenge Ambassador Nicolas Lama shares a powerful perspective on ocean climate action through his interview with Youth Leadership Council alum Delaney Reynolds for Columbia Political Review: http://www.cpreview.org/blog/2020/12/a-fight-for-our-future-an-interview-with-climate-activist-delaney-reynolds The Sink or Swim Project