The Hill confirms that Americans don’t want the U.S. to involve itself in Syria’s civil war:
Most likely voters don’t think the United States should get involved in Syria despite the worsening crisis there, according to a new poll for The Hill.
More than half — 57 percent — of respondents say the Obama administration should “leave the situation alone,” while only 25 percent think the United States should “get more involved” in helping rebels in their fight against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
As the poll’s crosstabs show, liberals are much more likely to favor greater U.S. involvement in Syria (36%) than moderates (26%) or conservatives (16%), but even among liberals there is more support for “leaving the situation alone” (45%) than there is for more involvement. That’s not surprising. Intervening in any form in any of the uprisings in Arab countries has been very unpopular in the U.S. for the last year. If it had been up to the American public, the U.S. would not have attacked Libya last year. Once the Libyan war started, there was some support for it because of the instinct to endorse military action once it has started, but it was similar to other elective military interventions in that it commanded very weak and shallow public support. Most Americans understandably don’t see why the U.S. should insert itself into other nations’ internal conflicts.
The results are all the more impressive because of the wording in this poll, which mimics the question Rasmussen asked last week. The poll doesn’t pose alternative forms of U.S. involvement (direct intervention vs. support for rebels vs. continued diplomatic pressure), but offers a choice between getting “more involved” or leaving the situation alone, and the public overwhelmingly favors the latter. It’s not just that there is no popular appetite for another unnecessary conflict. Most of the public is tired of constantly hearing that the U.S. must become entangled in the internal problems of other countries.
If we didn’t remember who his foreign policy advisers were, it would be almost inexplicable that Romney wants to position himself as the aggressive interventionist on Syria when Obama’s relatively more cautious response is so much closer to what the public wants. Romney has unfailingly positioned himself on the wrong side of public opinion on every foreign policy issue where Obama has made himself vulnerable to critiques informed by principles of prudence and restraint. He could make some effective criticisms of the administration on Libya and its aftermath, but he and his advisers have already committed themselves to endorsing the most recent war of choice. The debate over Syria has become a microcosm of the larger partisan foreign policy debate in the election in which most of the Republicans candidates mindlessly adopt the more aggressive and hawkish position on every issue. What is even more striking is that three quarters of Republicans don’t favor the Syria policy of their likely nominee.