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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
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 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.

All About America

AppleAndroid