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Americans Have No Desire for More Interventionism

A new poll co-sponsored by the Charles Koch Institute and the Center for the National Interest finds [1] very little appetite for increased interventionism and even less confidence in U.S. foreign policy:

Only 25 per cent of Americans would like the next president to expand the role of the US military overseas, according to a poll that underlines the cautious mood of voters about foreign policy.

In the poll, only 14 per cent of respondents said US foreign policy had made the country more secure since 9/11, when it launched the more than 15 years of military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

These findings are consistent with other surveys that find scant support for an expanded U.S. role overseas. The public understandably doesn’t share the enthusiasm of foreign policy elites for U.S. “leadership” defined by endless war, multiplying commitments in more and more countries, and no obvious benefit to the United States. What I find worrisome is that there is still any constituency for an even more activist foreign policy after a decade and a half of serial failure.

There is very little support for deploying U.S. forces in Syria and Yemen, and substantial opposition to the former:

Among the respondents, 51 per cent said the US should not deploy ground troops to Syria, and 10 per cent said US troops should help Saudi Arabia in its military campaign in Yemen.

Americans clearly aren’t interested in deeper involvement in either of these wars. Unfortunately, Clinton is likely to be the next president, and she is committed to an expanded role in one and probably favors continuing U.S. support for the other.

Another interesting finding is that there is overwhelming backing for the idea that the president needs Congressional authorization before taking military action:

Eighty per cent per cent said the president should need Congressional approval for military action abroad.

It is encouraging that there is broad support for Congress’ constitutional role in deciding on whether the U.S. should go to war. This finding raises the obvious question: if 80% think this should happen, why are their representatives content to abdicate their role and why isn’t there more pressure on them to hold the executive accountable for unauthorized, illegal wars?

The good news from all this is that the constituency among voters for perpetual war is extremely small, as I would hope it would be. The bad news is that foreign policy elites in Washington are determined to ignore this.

8 Comments (Open | Close)

8 Comments To "Americans Have No Desire for More Interventionism"

#1 Comment By Viriato On October 27, 2016 @ 11:55 am

The problem is that anti-interventionists today are not well organized. There is no strong anti-interventionist pressure group on Capitol Hill. Also, strong ideological differences on other issues seem to keep anti-interventionists from putting these differences aside to make common cause on the issue of war or peace.

Today’s anti-interventionists could learn a lot from the pre-Pearl Harbor America First Committee. The AFC is the strongest, most influential antiwar movement this country has ever seen. They were led and supported by prominent Americans from all walks of life and across the ideological spectrum. They were well-organized, with a national office and numerous local chapters. Oh, and they had lobbyists in Congress.

#2 Comment By SteveM On October 27, 2016 @ 12:27 pm

Re: “This finding raises the obvious question: if 80% think this should happen, why are their representatives content to abdicate their role and why isn’t there more pressure on them to hold the executive accountable for unauthorized, illegal wars?”

Agree with Viriato above. Moreover the MSM is now monolithic in its pro-interventionist reporting. E.g. Pentagon brass and Neocon Pimp Think Tank talking heads are interviewed and quoted without serious challenges to their fear-mongering and hegemonic fantasies. So the Cronies define the threats and the proper responses with the MSM as a willing and compliant conduit. Moreover, they always avoid discussing the costs. And the MSM is happy to not inquire.

And the sanctification of the American War Machine is a strong endorsement of what it does globally. I.e., questioning if American “Warrior-Heroes” are actually “defending our freedoms” by slaughtering natives 6,000 miles away is socially unacceptable. The Cult of Military Exceptionalism actually another bizarro Political Correctness running in parallel with the SJW lunacy.

Lastly, the current MSM rationalizations or outright avoidance of the myriad oily machinations revealed in the WikiLeak emails of the Clinton politico-criminal enterprise supports the argument that the news is whatever the Crony-MSM says it is.

#3 Comment By SDS On October 27, 2016 @ 12:32 pm

Yeah; it sure would be nice if Washington ever even gave a sh*t about what the average American wants them to spend their time and our money on…..

Syria? Yemen? Afghanistan? Iraq? Continually threatening Iran?
Kneeling before Israel?
Poking Russia with a stick for no reason?
That sure ain’t it, certainly after 15 years….

#4 Comment By bacon On October 27, 2016 @ 12:55 pm

Billions spent from Desert Storm to the present to no good end. Hundreds of millions more owed to disabled veterans, much of which probably won’t be paid, to our national shame. W down in Texas happy as a clam and about as thoughtful. Hillary on the way with ideas which double down on all this. Citizens not happy. Crazy? Only if one ignores the gigantic profits of the defense industry, liberally spread around to legislators and retired generals/admirals cum defense executives.

#5 Comment By fatalist On October 27, 2016 @ 6:05 pm

It doesn’t matter what we want. The only question is how to cope with what Clinton and the globalists decide to give us.

#6 Comment By naturalized is unnatural On October 27, 2016 @ 7:37 pm

“only 14 per cent of respondents said US foreign policy had made the country more secure since 9/11”

I’d love to see a demographic breakdown of that 14 percent, but sight unseen I could probably list the zip codes where they all live.

#7 Comment By the sweet hereafter On October 27, 2016 @ 7:51 pm

“if 80% think this should happen, why are their representatives content to abdicate their role …”

Fecklessness.

“… and why isn’t there more pressure on them to hold the executive accountable for unauthorized, illegal wars? “

Because we haven’t really had to pay the bill for it yet. They’re still printing money and pretending it can all go on forever. If in my lifetime they come looking for another bailout to pay for their wars or another financial collapse in my lifetime you’ll see popular fury.

My sense is that those running our foreign policy are so heavily insulated from the rest of the country – by training and profession, by the media and the circumstances of life (too many are immigrants, too, and ought to have no role whatsoever in that sphere) – that they’ll keep doing what they’re doing until they’re frog-marched out of their offices and packed into tumbrels.

The bubble-world and excesses of Versailles only ended at the guillotine.

#8 Comment By Conserving What? On October 28, 2016 @ 10:16 am

The dumbest thing we ever did was to create an all-volunteer military. Now our citizenry has no personal stake and no say in what our defense establishment does under the rubric of “national security”. To our so-called elites, our military are the functional equivalent of mercenaries who willingly choose the warrior’s life and can’t complain when they are sent to some fly-blown hellhole on some foolish mission, and killed or maimed in consequence. Meanwhile, it is not only the Military-Industrial complex which profits from endless war. Included in the profiteers are all the “journalists” and think-tankers who despoil reams of paper putting forth deep thoughts about why America has a “duty” to “lead the world”.