New Poll Shows Americans Favor Non-Intervention

A new poll conducted by the Eurasia Group Foundation shows Americans are losing their belief in American exceptionalism, and tend to favor a more non-interventionist foreign policy. The participants were asked a range of foreign policy questions.

Over 1,200 people across the country were surveyed for the Eurasia Group poll. Here are some of its findings:

Most of the participants believe that America is an exceptional nation. 42.4 percent believe America is exceptional for what it represents, and 18.2 percent believe the nation is exceptional for what it has done in the world. 39.5 percent of the participants believe America is not exceptional, just another country acting on behalf of its own interests. That number is up 6.1 percent from the previous year.

Looking at the different age groups shows younger people do not think America is anything special. In the 18-29-year age bracket, just 45.1 percent find America to be exceptional. Those who are 60 and over find America to be the most exceptional, at 75.2 percent.

The participants were asked how peace is best achieved and sustained by the US and were given the choice of four responses. The most popular response was "keeping a focus on domestic needs" which was chosen by 34.4 percent. The second most popular choice "establishing, encouraging, and reinforcing global economic integration" came in at 28.3 percent. Third was "promoting and defending democracy" which received 19 percent of the vote. The fourth and most hawkish sounding response "maintaining overwhelming strength" came in last with 18.3 percent.

The next question asked how the US should respond to humanitarian abuses overseas. Most participants would opt for restraint which came in at 47.1 percent (up 2 percent from the previous year). A UN-led response came in second at 33.5 percent, and US military action was the least popular response at 19.4 percent.

The next question asked if the respondents were in favor of increasing the defense budget, decreasing it or keeping it the same. Exact numbers were not provided, but they found half of the participants were in favor of keeping the budget the same and "twice as many of the remaining respondents preferred decreasing rather than increasing the defense budget." So, more respondents preferred a decrease in spending, rather than an increase.

The Pentagon has pivoted its focus to China in recent years, calling for a larger US presence in the Indo-pacific region. When asked how to deal with China, 57.6 percent of the participants said the US should reduce its presence in Asia, while 42.4 percent believe the US should send more troops to allied countries in the region.

Moving on to the war in Afghanistan, 38.8 percent believe the US should withdraw immediately, or within a year. 31.4 percent want to negotiate a peace with the Taliban and continue fighting until a deal is reached. The remaining 29.8 percent take a hawkish approach and want US troops to remain in the country until "all enemies are defeated."

The participants were asked if Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, or Israel posed the biggest threat to peace in the Middle East. The vast majority chose Iran as the biggest threat to peace in the region.

The Iran nuclear deal is the last topic in the poll. The question asks the participants, "If Iran gets back on track with its nuclear weapons program, how should the US respond?" (Although Iran may have never had a nuclear weapons program.)

The respondents were given four choices to the nuclear deal question. Here they are ranked in order of most popular to least (exact numbers were not given):

  1. The US and its allies should attempt to revive nuclear negotiations and pursue a diplomatic solution even while Iran remains a nuclear power in the short term
  2. The US should pressure Iran to give up its weapons by working with its allies to impose stronger economic sanctions even if business interests of America and its allies are negatively affected
  3. The US should not intervene. Iran has the right to defend itself even if it means possessing nuclear weapons as a deterrent.
  4. The US should launch a preventive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities even if it risks starting a full-scale war.

This poll from the Eurasia Group Foundation reflects a poll released by the Pew Research Center back in July. The Pew poll found most veterans they surveyed do not believe the wars they fought in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria were worth fighting. A shocking 64 percent found the war in Iraq was not worth it, 58 percent for the war in Afghanistan, and 55 percent for Syria.

The Costs of War project at Brown University released a study this November that found the so-called War on Terror has killed over 800,000 people, and cost the US $6.4 trillion. The death toll only takes into account those killed in direct violence, not including those killed by disease, malnutrition, or other indirect causes. It’s no mystery as to why Americans, even those who fought the wars, are starting to favor a more noninterventionist approach.

Dave DeCamp is assistant editor at and a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn NY, focusing on US foreign policy and wars. He is on Twitter at @decampdave.

24 thoughts on “New Poll Shows Americans Favor Non-Intervention”

  1. “Those who are 60 and over find America to be the most exceptional, at 75.2 percent.”

    I find that number shocking. Every old bastard I know thinks we suck.

    1. Everyone older than the insane boomers knows the US is exceptional.
      What sets America apart from the rest of the world–what makes her
      exceptional–is her dedication to three things:
      classic liberal tradition, political democracy, and economic freedom.

      Liberal tradition:
      holds liberty and the protection of individual rights as foundational.

      Political democracy:
      the American democratic ideal is that every individual is equal in the sight of the law regardless of his status in society.

      Economic freedom:
      the right of individuals to own, gain, and dispose of property as they see fit.

      America was first to make these ideals real. MAGA!

      1. How do I know you want the publisher Assange of Wikileaks to go to jail for telling the truth about US war crimes? I am curious whether you want the owner and editor of the New York Times to go to jail for the same offence. What about the owner and editor of the Washington Post?

      2. You are looking at the past with rose-colored glasses. MAGA indeed. I hope you don’t believe that the smirking trust fund kid actually gives two hoots about anyone except himself.

          1. “I look at what he DOES…”

            1. He signed a budget into law that sends spending and the deficit through the roof, easily outpacing increases under Obama.

            2. His Federal Reserve hit the accelerator on inflating the money supply to help finance those deficits.

            3. He is attempting to expropriate the private property of US citizens on the border to build his new Berlin Wall. So much for the right of individuals to dispose of property as they see fit.

            4. His increases in tariffs finally exceeded the much vaunted tax “cuts” he supported, meaning we now have a greater burden of visible taxation (ignoring for the moment the indirect inflation tax). So much for economic freedom.

            5. While he has called for Edward Snowden’s execution, he has pardoned war criminals. So much for equality in the sight of the law.

            6. He has escalated every war he has inherited, and acted like a bully to people in many foreign countries. So much for peace.

            Trump is one of the least libertarian presidents in my lifetime. If you can’t see that, you are simply denying reality. I don’t know what you consider to be liberty and peace, but, in my eyes, it ain’t what we got.

          2. –Yet the stock market (401K’s) have hit multiple records.
            –UE is the lowest in history including minorities and woman.
            –He hasn’t taken the bait to fight for the Kurds or go after Iran after provocations.
            –He has decreased the flow of illegals across our border.
            –And he is finally THE one to confront China’s predatory theft of intellectual property and UN-equal tariffs.

            So you would have preferred who, exactly?

          3. The first two were on track before he took office and likely the former wouldn’t have swung back and forth like a yo-yo so much with a different president.

            The last two are bugs, not features.

            As to the third, he massively increased US deployments to existing wars.

            Personally, I would have preferred Gary Johnson, although he was far from the best the Libertarian Party could have nominated.

            The alternatives weren’t Trump or Hillary. They were Trump/Hillary, aka “business as usual,” on one side, something different on the other.

          4. Beg to differ on the “first two”.
            0bama’s last year in office, 2016, the US economy posted an anemic 1.6% GDP, after 8 years of his economic policy failures.

            Re the third, deployments do not equal wars, the only “wars” are in Afghanistan and against ISIS remnants, both involve limited US troop exposure.

            And, wish as you might, Johnson was never a viable option.

            Hillary would have been nothing more than an 0bama continuation, weak economy, high UE, the quintessential “more of same”.

            Trump, warts and all, is the anti-0bama (therefore the anti-Hillary)
            to argue differently denies the current DC condition of outright
            open—–civil war.

          5. If that were true,

            the entire establishment resistance effort would have to be false,
            but it isn’t.
            The establishment fears Trump

            (the MIC, R’s and D’s, Wall Street,
            the Rothchilds, Euros, Chinese and US 1%-ers).

            If impeachment fails

            they will try to Kennedy-him out.

          6. “He has decreased the flow of illegals across our border.”

            Quite anti-liberty, and unconstitutional. The proper way to decrease the flow of “illegals” across our border, is to legalize all peaceful immigration, thus making illegal immigration not even theoretically possible.

          7. ONLY if, US taxpayers don’t have to subsidize them with housing, welfare, education, health care, food stamp and every other insane govt. “benefit”!

          8. Don’t bother my friend. Our resident neocon praised John Bolton and Nikki Haley so you know his train of thought.

      3. Yuck. No wonder we became an evil empire if that is our true basis. What you call political democracy is healthy at least.

        One strength is the US was very religious. Another was the US developed a large middle class. Another was how empty the US was relative to crowded Europe.

    2. “Every old bastard I know thinks we suck.”

      This old bastard thinks we are exceptional, that is, we suck to an exceptional degree. Not that our government is the only bad one, it’s just that our government is one of the most hypocritical, and, it’s the only one we have the power to change.

  2. So, the (bare) majority of the public (including veterans) want a non-interventionist foreign policy. The deep state wants US global hegemony and wants to attain it through war. Identify which of the two realities we have and you have identified who is in charge and is running the US. Hint….this is NOT a democracy; it is an Empire

  3. The problem here is nationalism is meant to be a particular, irrational tie, not an objective valuation. A nationalist loves his people like a mother loves her child, not for being truly best objectively. So, a mother loves her child in spite of flaws, in spite of not being best in every category; and a nationalist feels the same about his nation. Many nationalists really are rather scornful of their nations.

    It is bizarre to truly believe oneself or one’s nation superior. A person can prefer his nation, can love his nation, but superiority complexes are disorders.

  4. Poll: Gabbard at 6% in NH. Twice. She could win NH. Yang gang is slain. Tulsi is the antiwar candidate.

      1. Big jump. Sanders is friendlier to Yang & Tulsi now. And Assad has now been officially redeemed, meaning she can’t be bullied on that topic as much now.

        Tulsi’s greatest challenge is proving she’s electable. If she can pull a Butti, she might have a chance. Mayor Pete surely has less of a claim than she.

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