It makes no sense to talk about a universal ideal drinking age when different groups of people do not even agree on whether it is permissible to drink alcohol at all. In many places, especially in Muslim-majority countries, alcohol is legally prohibited for all people regardless of age. Alcohol has also been banned in many Western nations in the past, including the United States. While the historical reasons for these prohibitions vary from religious beliefs to public health concerns, they present a stark contrast with standards in many other nations, which do not and never have had a minimum legal age for drinking. Since even these extreme opposite approaches can receive substantial public support depending on the predominant local culture, it is best to leave the appropriate drinking age, if any, in the hands of each individual jurisdiction.
[P1] Many countries prohibit all drinking, whether it be for religious or public health reasons. [P2] We should not put pressure on these societies to conform to a drinking age of 18.