WSJ/NBC News Poll: Americans Want Pullback from World Stage
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 08:35 AM
By: Melissa Clyne
Americans have grown increasingly weary of intervening in other countries’ affairs, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, which shows nearly half want the U.S. to take a less active role on the world stage.
The recent poll results jibe with one from Pew Research Center last year that found 53 percent of Americans – a record figure – believe America “should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along as best they can." In 1995, 41 percent of Americans felt that way, compared with just 20 percent in 1964.
Nineteen percent of current respondents think the U.S. should take a more active role.
Americans’ sentiments about meddling abroad come as President Obama continues a path of passivity in Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
Obama, who first won election, in part, due to his stance against the Iraq war, has defended his position not to resort to military action in Ukraine. Just 37 percent of Americans approve of how the president is handling the situation there, down from 43 percent in March, according to the Journal.
The president has recently defended his foreign policy strategy.
“For some reason, many who were proponents of what I consider to be a disastrous decision to go into Iraq haven’t really learned the lesson of the last decade, and they keep on just playing the same note over and over again,” he said this week. “My job as Commander-in-Chief is to look at what is it that is going to advance our security interests over the long term, to keep our military in reserve for where we absolutely need it.”
Despite Americans saying they want to reduce the country’s role on the world stage, Obama’s numbers on handling foreign policy have hit an all-time low, according to NBC News. Only 38 percent of Americans approve of how Obama is handling foreign policy, while 53 percent disapprove.
Americans’ sentiments may explain why the U.S. is holding back in Libya and Syria as well as why Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican who some critics have described as isolationist, is gaining momentum in the polls for the 2016 presidential race, according to the Journal.
"I'm not saying go to war, but I feel like he has a lot of empty threats," Melissa Western, an Arizona independent who voted for Republican Mitt Romney in 2012 told the Journal. "He's hard to take seriously.”
She characterized the president’s foreign policy as “lackadaisical.”