Free Beacon (Sep 19) — A majority of Americans continue to say they want the United States to assume an active role in global affairs after more than a decade of wars in the Middle East, according to a new survey released this week.
Sixty-nine percent of Americans said they would back the deployment of U.S. troops to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Large majorities also favored actions that do not typically involve ground troops, such as air strikes or drone strikes against suspected terrorists, as well as sending U.S. forces to prevent genocide or provide humanitarian relief.
The survey by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs found that 58 percent of Americans “think it will be best for the future of the country if we take an active part in world affairs.” That number has remained high throughout 40 years of polling by the Chicago Council, though it has dipped since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
More than eight in 10 Americans said strong U.S. leadership in world affairs is desirable.
The recent survey pushes back against the narrative that “war-weary” Americans are increasingly inclined to withdraw from the world after years of conflict overseas. Some commentators suggested that a Pew Research Center poll from July 2013—in which 46 percent of Americans said the United States “should mind its own business internationally,” the highest in 50 years of polling—provided evidence of a new isolationism among the public.
“It’s clear that Americans are fatigued by a decade of war, but describing them as isolationist is misleading,” said Ambassador Ivo H. Daalder, president of the Chicago Council, in a statement. “They understand that we live in a dangerous world, and that our safety and security will at times require a resort to arms. When that clearly is the case, Americans will support using force.”