Americans want some quality time on their own (and the world says thanks)

The idea of American engagement around the world bringing greater stability and peace is highly questionable. Ask the people of Palestine, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and a host of other countries how they feel about Washington’s footprint.

These results aren’t all that surprising. Perhaps some in the US will start to wonder what their country is doing in the furthest corners of the globe:

A new poll shows that a growing number of Americans feel that the United States should “mind its own business internationally” when it comes to foreign affairs.

The title of the Pew Research Center poll, which asked 2,000 U.S. citizens about United States’ role in the world, says it all: “Isolationist Sentiment Surges to Four-Decade High.”

The survey found that almost half of Americans (49 percent) think the United States should stay out of foreign affairs and let other countries get along the best they can on their own. That number is the highest in 40 years and represents an increase from 30 percent who felt that way just seven years ago.

Andrew Kohut, the director of the Pew Center, calls it “an extraordinary spike in isolationist” sentiment and thinks he knows why.

“I think part of the reason here is the American public’s focus on a bad economy, also feeling badly about the world,” Kohut says.

“There are two wars that the public thinks are not going well, terrorist concerns are even greater than they were four years ago, so the American public is not looking fondly at the rest of the world.”

Paralleling the rise in isolationist sentiment among Americans is a sharp rise in unilateralist feelings.

Fully 44 percent of Americans — the highest percentage in more than 45 years — say that because the United States is “the most powerful nation in the world, we should go our own way in international matters, not worrying about whether other countries agree with us or not.”

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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