Pew poll finds a larger portion of Americans believe the U.S. “should “mind its own business internationally” than ever before.

A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found Americans are growing more non-interventionist in international affairs, increasingly believe the policies of the U.S. should not be swayed by those of other countries and see the role of the U.S diminishing on the global stage with China as the primary economic power.

The Center stated in its report: “In the midst of two wars abroad and a sour economy at home, there has been a sharp rise in isolationist sentiment among the public. For the first time in more than 40 years of polling, a plurality (49%) says the United States should ‘mind its own business internationally’ and let other countries get along the best they can on their own.”

Though 63% expressed the view the U.S. is the “world’s leading military power” and 57% “that U.S. policies should try to maintain America’s role as the world’s only military superpower”, the percentage of people who agree that the U.S. “mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own” rose to its highest mark at 49%. Four years ago, 42% agreed, compared to only 30% in December 2002.

The survey also found 41% say “the United States plays a less important and powerful role as a world leader today than it did 10 years ago—the highest percentage ever in a Pew Research survey”, now seeing China as the global economic power.

“In a reversal of opinion from the beginning of last year,” the report states. “44% of the public now says China is the world’s leading economic power, while just 27% name the United States. In February 2008, 41% said the U.S. was the top economic power while 30% said China. Somewhat fewer people now say China is the top economic power than named Japan as the leading economic power in the late 1980s (58% in 1989).”

The same questions were posed to members of the Council on Foreign Relations (C.F.R.), who disagreed with the American people on many fronts. For instance, 63% of polled Americans “approve of the use of U.S. military force against Iran if it were certain that Iran had produced a nuclear weapon”, as opposed to 33% of the C.F.R.; and 43% “are somewhat more accepting of another country or the Eurpean Union becoming as militarily powerful as the U.S.”, as opposed to just 29% of polled Americans.

These numbers refute the reckless use of “isolationism” throughout the report to describe the feelings of those polled. There’s actually no indication of “isolationism” anywhere in the report. No views Americans should be less inclined to engage in international trade agreements and—though, the amount of those who believe “should fully cooperate with the United Nations” has fallen to 51%—70% favor “a shared leadership role for the United States” on the global stage.

This isn’t a trend toward isolationism, but of unilateral policy making that doesn’t issue the respect of others’ sovereignty to a level which they expect in return as 52% say the use of the pre-emptive use of military force by the U.S. can often (16%) or sometimes (36%) be justified. Only 41% said it is rarely (24%) or never (17%) justified, compared to just 31% of C.F.R. members saying such actions can often (4%) or sometimes (27%) be justified and about a vast majority (66%) saying they can rarely (55%) or never (11%) be justified.

Also, only 32% believe so-called ‘free trade’ is a bad thing for the U.S. It’s the ‘really existing free trade’ policies by government people say leads to job losses (53%), lowers U.S. wages (49%).

That said, there is increasing stupidity from those polled to display a very successful propaganda campaign by the State:

  • Iran (21%) is viewed as the “greatest danger” to the U.S. with Iraq and Afghanistan’s U.S.-puppeteered governments tied in second at 14%. Only 5% said “the U.S. itself” with China (11%), the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (10%), Pakistan (3%), Russia (2%), and terrorist groups (2%) rounding up the list;
  • A majority (58%) believe the world is “now more dangerous for the United States since the end of the Cold War”, as opposed to 30% of C.F.R. members;
  • Only 23% believe the U.S. should cut back on military sending with a vast majority (72%) supporting it increase (26%) or stay the same (46%);
  • An overwhelming majority (51%) “sympathize with” Israel over the Palestinians (12%);
  • A majority (56%) still believe the “initial decision to use force” in Afghanistan was “right” and 51% either agree with increasing U.S. troop presence (32%) or keepng them at the current levels (19%), with only 40% support a decrease;
  • With more U.S. troops still in Iraq than Afghanistan, 15% are still believe President Obama is withdrawing troops from Iraq “too quickly”;
  • Only 36% agree that “government anti-terror policies have gone too far in restricting civil liberties”

Read the full report here.

  1. menso says:

    Very interesting. If the casualties in Afghanistan mount, or if unemployment gets worse, isolationism could be the word of the day again. That would probably be good for the world–more multilateralism and cooperation, less support for Israel, etc. as American citizens shun unilateral bullying. Well, maybe.

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