WASHINGTON – Americans want their government to mind its own business on the
By a large margin, they favor peaceful solutions to world
crises over engaging in military conflict.
They see global markets as
less threatening to the American worker than they did before the financial
crisis of 2008.
These are the findings of a poll conducted by the Pew
Research Center, a nonpartisan surveying firm, and the Council on Foreign
Relations, released on Tuesday.
On most foreign policy matters, the
American people are on their president’s side.
They support US President
Barack Obama for his anti terrorism policy. They support his competitive
engagement with foreign economies.
But on some of the bigger picture
issues, the president and his people diverge.
Chalk it up to a change in
“Views of US global importance and power have passed a key
milestone,” the report finds, “for the first time in surveys dating back nearly
40 years, a majority (53 percent) says the US plays a less important and
powerful role as a world leader than it did a decade ago.”
matters concerning the Islamic Republic of Iran – a government the American
people still deeply distrust, but nevertheless seem keen to make peace
The Pew survey was conducted before the Geneva deal was reached at
the end of November, but found that only 33% of Americans trust that the Iranian
government is serious about addressing international concerns over its
controversial nuclear program.
And yet, after the agreement was reached,
another survey, conducted by Hart Research Associates, found that the majority
of Americans who had heard enough about the interim deal to have an opinion
strongly support it.
Of course, that majority – 53% – only counts
Americans in the know. Forty-one percent openly admitted that they have not paid
attention to the saga with Iran, and did not have any strong feelings on the
matter either way.
“The danger for the world is that the United States,
after a decade of war – rightly concerned about issues back home and aware of
the hostility that our engagement in the region has engendered throughout the
Muslim world – may disengage, creating a vacuum of leadership that no other
nation is ready to fill,” US President Barack Obama said at the UN General
Assembly in September of this year.
“I believe such disengagement would
be a mistake,” he said, “I believe America must remain engaged for our own
security. But I also believe the world is better for it.”