For the First Time In 50 Years, a Majority of Americans Think the U.S. Should “Mind Its Own Business”

Americans Are Sick of War

Pew noted yesterday:

Majority Says U.S. Should ‘Mind Its Own Business Internationally’

Support for U.S. global engagement, already near a historic low, has fallen further.


The [American] public thinks that the nation does too much to solve world problems, and increasing percentages want the U.S. to “mind its own business internationally” and pay more attention to problems here at home.


These are among the principal findings of America’s Place in the World, a quadrennial survey of foreign policy attitudes conducted in partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a nonpartisan membership organization and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy.


The public’s skepticism about U.S. international engagement – evident in America’s Place in the World surveys four and eight years ago – has increased. Currently, 52% say the United States “should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own.” Just 38% disagree with the statement. This is the most lopsided balance in favor of the U.S. “minding its own business” in the nearly 50-year history of the measure.


After the recent near-miss with U.S. military action against Syria, the NATO mission in Libya and lengthy wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, about half of Americans (51%) say the United States does too much in helping solve world problems, while just 17% say it does too little and 28% think it does the right amount. When those who say the U.S. does “too much” internationally are asked to describe in their own words why they feel this way, nearly half (47%) say problems at home, including the economy, should get more attention.

As we’ve reported for years, the American public is sick of war.

Pew notes that even members of the Council on Foreign Relations agree:

When asked why the public has become less supportive of global engagements, 42% of CFR members point to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or explicitly cite “war fatigue.” About a quarter (28%) mention the struggling U.S. economy or the costs of international engagement. Other factors cited are the ineffectiveness of recent U.S. interventions (mentioned by 19%) and failures of U.S. leadership (17%). (For more on how members of the Council on Foreign Relations view America’s Place in the World, see section 6).

Because war is bad for the economy and increases terrorism, it’s time to listen to the American people … and the Founding Fathers.

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  • colinjames71

    The problem is we don’t try to solve problems, we create and exploit problems. Which causes more problems.

  • Mortimer Sniddley

    Warfare is the only industry in which the USA remains the world leader.
    While the protection racket, killing and stealing pay some of the bills, that won’t last.
    Harvard, Yale, UCLA, etc need to provide innovative new vocational programs like begging.

  • Tonto

    — For the First Time In 50 Years, a Majority of Americans Think the U.S. Should “Mind Its Own Business” —

    Given American and world history, this is an incredibly bad omen. Military preparedness is the paramount duty of the government at such a juncture.

    • Angel Bird

      So you mean the fact that the US has the highest military spending in the world isn’t enough? The fact that we spend 4 times more than the next highest military spenders, China, is beyond disgusting.( ) During WWII, NASA had 4.5% of the budget. Now they have less than half of 1% of it. So you’re telling me spending millions and billions of dollars on preparing for wars NO ONE WANTS is more important than developing a better understanding of the world and universe around us? And possibly developing understandings that could save our planet in the case of a black hole or meteor? Nah, let’s keep feeding the war machine.

      • Tonto

        What I am saying is, when war comes, there are always surprises that take place in the course of those events, even in the choice of battlefields and the sophistication of the latest weaponry.

        The U.S. is not the only country preparing for world war III. Now is not the time to defund national defense out of some happy-faced-altruist anti-war populism, out of some socially-sickening alternative media America-haters sentiment, or out of a desire to keep the socially deleterious welfare state funded.

        There are laughably-prominent anarchist-haters writing and broadcasting in the alternative media, people like Micheal Rivero at What Really Happened, who are daily calling for the destruction the dollar, our economy, all religion and for the destruction of our government. These people want dope legalized. They want prostitution legalized. They want everyone to be walking around carrying guns. These anarchist-haters typically revel in every hint at the destruction of our American way of life.

        If you’re one of those anarchist-hater types, then perhaps you ought to go take a good long look in the mirror, if just to see if you can see, what you really look like.

        • Chief Pontiac

          Tonto speak with forked tongue and circumcised dick.

        • Jon

          If such a war comes (not when), it will be because our leaders chose war. Look at the Gulf of Tonkin event: clearly one great big lie used to start Vietnam. 9/11: even if you disbelieve every conspiracy theory on the matter, it was used to start multiple wars. The country the pilots came from (Saudi Arabia) was never suspected. We started a war with Libya based on lies. We tried to do the same in Syria. We have considered doing the same with Iran. And Cuba…read about “Operation Northwoods”. Our military is not for protection…it is to secure the resources of the world for the ultra-wealthy. The people have to pay for that military, though, so while the companies that win the bid-free contracts make billions, the rest of us would be better off buying those resources on an open, free and fair market. Oh, our leaders have also done everything in their power to make sure that the markets are not open, free, or fair, but dominated by a handful of banks who own pretty much everything. We even give them 85 billion dollars per month as a part of “quantitative easing”. Give it to them, and they buy stocks with it, transferring even more ownership of the world to themselves. Our outrageous military spending does exist to protect our American way of life, but to secure the position of those who seek to destroy it. I assume you side with them.

  • Washington76

    If we actually had a free and independent press would be a first and good step ‘FORWARD’! Pun intended!

    Strassman vs. Obama: “corporate power” vs. “common ground”–August 11, 1995