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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid