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

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid