U.S. Isolationism Isn’t Protectionism
New polling data showing that the American public is turning inward, preoccupied with domestic affairs and less interested in international engagement, is not evidence of a rise in U.S. economic protectionism, with its grave consequences for global business.
The disconnect in perception and priorities between experts and the general public reflects the inevitable tension between policy and politics in any democratic country; but it also comes with an often contradictory and confusing mixed message to foreigners about America’s intentions on the world stage.
World Still Downbeat on Economic Prospects
The widely shared disconnect between the world’s modest recovery from the Great Recession and the public mood is testimony to the depth of the downturn and the persistence of unemployment.
Americans Deeply Divided on Foreign Policy
With national debates looming next year over Iran, Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, trade and China, continued partisan discord is probably unavoidable. What may be different this time is the shear depth of that partisan divide.
As free trade negotiations with Europe proceed, Americans seem predisposed toward trade liberalization, especially with the European Union. But concerns about the impact of trade on wages and jobs and a generational pivot toward Asia suggest that TTIP is not a slam dunk.
A Not So “Special Relationship”
On discreet foreign policy issues of topical bilateral concern, there is often general agreement on broad issues between the British and American publics and disagreement on specifics.
Public Opinion May Restrict Obama’s Second-Term Foreign Policy
Recent developments regarding Iran, Syria and China suggest that President Barack Obama, like his predecessors, will concentrate more on international issues as his presidency winds down. The American public, however, may not let him do so.
NSA Spying: A Threat to U.S. Interests?
Revelations by Edward Snowden of U.S. National Security Agency spying have exposed both similarities and differences in public attitudes toward privacy among Europeans and Americans.
Americans See Declining U.S. Prestige
The American public thinks that the United States does too much to try to solve the world’s problems, and increasing percentages want the U.S. to “mind its own business internationally” and pay more attention to problems at home.
India ‘More Important’ Than China As an Ally to U.S.
While Americans are more open to economic engagement than they have been in the past, they also continue to exhibit a wariness about refocusing U.S. policy toward Asia and have misgivings about accepting more high-skilled immigrants.
Foreign policy, once a relative strength for President Obama, has now become a target of substantial criticism among both the general public and foreign policy experts.
Most Americans Want Washington to Mind Its Own Business Overseas
Americans’ willingness to take on new international burdens is at an all-time low, and it is not clear that a rebalancing of U.S. interests and engagement toward East, Southeast and South Asia has the full support of the American people.
Americans and Israelis Don’t See Eye to Eye on Iran
As negotiators convene in Geneva in an effort to reach agreement on curbing Iran’s nuclear program, the American people are supportive of a deal, even though they are fairly cynical about the likelihood of it working.
U.S. Image on Roller Coaster Ride Since Cold War
America’s rise in the 50 years since President Kennedy was killed has been far from trouble-free – and America’s international standing since the fall of its great Cold War rival has reflected the ups, downs and uncertainties of the past five decades.
Despite Challenges, Africans Are Optimistic about the Future
Economic Outlook More Positive in Africa than Europe or Middle East
Is Tide Turning Over Immigration Views?
Even as the immigration policy debate continues to intensify, the issue looks like it might be about to take another twist as the sharp decline in the U.S. population of unauthorized immigrants that accompanied the 2007-2009 recession bottoms out. Americans now appear ready for a new approach to immigration policy.
Trading Privacy for Security
Americans believe that the National Security Agency may have gone too far in spying on U.S. allies. They also think that the NSA has intruded on personal privacy in scooping up massive amounts of phone calls and emails, but don’t expect to see citizens taking to the streets.
While focus on foreign problems lessens, U.S. public keeps its eye on China
While the American public increasingly has been looking inward after years of economic stress at home and a decade of wars abroad, they have a keen awareness of the challenges posed to the U.S. by China in the superpower competition between the two countries.
Mexicans and Salvadorans Have Positive Picture of Life in U.S.
Widespread Concern about Drugs and Gangs at Home
Chinese unease growing at flip side of progress
After a remarkable run of economic expansion that has lifted tens of millions out of poverty, the Chinese public is waking up to the side effects of progress.
Saudi Arabia’s Image Falters among Middle East Neighbors
Mixed Views of Saudi Influence, Record on Civic Freedoms
How West Sees Iran’s Nuclear Program
As American, European, Russian, Chinese and Iranian negotiators jockey in Geneva over ending the West’s economic sanctions on Tehran in return for a dismantling of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, European and U.S. publics are sending negotiators on both sides a clear message: they oppose Iran having nuclear armaments.
Next Year in Jerusalem
As Washington ramps up its efforts to get the Israelis and Palestinians to fashion a lasting settlement of their differences, there is no uniform American Jewish viewpoint on the peace process.
Is Democracy Dead in the Birthplace of the Arab Spring?
In the wake of rising public unrest, Tunisia’s government has announced it will step down and begin talks with the opposition about forming an interim administration in the run-up to new parliamentary and presidential elections.
Germans’ concern about the gap between the rich and the poor suggests inequality is likely to be on Germans’ minds when they cast their ballots September 22. While recent surveys of voters’ intentions do not indicate such worries will necessarily influence the outcome of the election, polling data suggests measures to address inequality may be high on the agenda of the new German government.
Environmental Concerns on the Rise in China
Many Also Worried about Inflation, Inequality, Corruption
UN Retains Strong Global Image
Robust Support in America, Especially among Democrats
What Water’s Edge?
It is not clear that such high-minded bipartisanship has ever driven Americans’ views on foreign policy. What is notable today, however, is the degree of such partisanship and the accelerating pace of this polarization on key international policy issues.
Syria’s Neighbors Worry about Extremism, Too
The prospect of a U.S. military strike on Syria has focused new attention on the role and influence of Islamic extremist groups – including Jabhat al-Nusra, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and jihadists from Chechnya, Pakistan and other countries – opposing the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Shift in Public Support for UN-backed Military Action
While UN approval might provide legal justification for a military strike against Syria, it is not at all clear that it would afford the American government and its European allies with political cover at home.