News / USA

Americans Increasingly Wary of Foreign Intervention

Carla Sloan (L) and Liz Ziehl, friends and neighbors of diplomat Anne Smedinghoff, who was killed in Afghanistan, tie a ribbon on a tree in River Forest, Illinois, April 8, 2013.
Carla Sloan (L) and Liz Ziehl, friends and neighbors of diplomat Anne Smedinghoff, who was killed in Afghanistan, tie a ribbon on a tree in River Forest, Illinois, April 8, 2013.
After more than a decade of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, opinion polls suggest the American public is increasingly reluctant to support military intervention overseas.  That reluctance is inhibiting activists who would like to see the United States take a more robust role in conflicts like the ongoing civil war in Syria.

Americans Increasingly Wary of Foreign Interventioni
X
April 11, 2013 5:18 PM
After more than a decade of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, opinion polls suggest the American public is increasingly reluctant to support military intervention overseas. That reluctance is inhibiting activists who would like to see the United States take a more robust role in conflicts like the ongoing civil war in Syria. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Dan Layman is with the Syrian Support Group, which raises funds and sends non-lethal aid to moderate factions of the Free Syrian Army. The group was founded by Syrian-Americans opposed to the Assad regime in Syria and is trying to generate support among the American public.

But Layman said getting Americans interested in the conflict has been a challenge.

"In terms of getting involved in a conflict, the American public feels a little bit burned from the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan and the resources and lives that were spent in Iraq and so it is a little bit hard to get that large scale galvanization of support,” he said.

A new form of isolationism?

That reluctance of Americans to get involved in overseas conflicts was evident in a series of random interviews VOA conducted with tourists visiting Washington from around the U.S.

 "We have to be very cautious about that and very careful about how we go about getting into other countries affairs,” Stephen Fields from Tennesee said.

Merrel Gelburo from Virginia said, “They are tired of war. I think Americans never did like going to war although we have been involved in a lot recently. Hopefully President Obama will keep us out of any future wars.”

 "I definitely think we should pull back quite a bit, actually, from what we have done in the past ten years, especially for the state of the economy right now,” Jason Kapit from Massachussetts agreed.

Most analysts will not go so far as to call this sentiment a new form of isolationism.  But this hesitation to get involved overseas has been showing up in public opinion polls.

“There is a weariness after two major wars and an apprehension both about what is going on the Middle East generally and what is going on in China," remarked Carroll Doherty with the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press in Washington. "They are not turning away, but there is certainly no desire on the public’s part to get involved in hot spots around the world.”

Dan Layman said he understands the public’s wariness of foreign military involvements. But he said it is frustrating trying to rally Americans to what he believes is a worthwhile cause.

“I think it is reasonable to say that maybe the American people feel like we need to go into a little more of an international foreign policy seclusion," he said. "This is pretty regrettable given the conflicts that are going on in the world right now that really do need our support.”

Layman added that he remains committed no matter what the public opinion polls say.

“Even given the unfortunate and sometimes kind of dim policy initiatives that we see, we are for this cause until the end and we are going to see it through,” he said.

A recent Washington Post / ABC News poll found only 17 percent of those asked believe the United States should get involved in the Syrian conflict, while 73 percent opposed the idea.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid