The latest results from the Confidence in U.S. Foreign Policy Index show that public anguish over Iraq is spilling into other areas of U.S. foreign policy in ways that are likely to curtail the freedom action of the Bush administration and its successors. Specifically, the vast majority of the U.S. public rejects a military response to the problems posed by Iran.
The Index is a joint venture of Public Agenda and Foreign Affairs, produced with major support from the Ford Foundation. It tracks the changing state of mind of average Americans toward foreign policy, probing deeper than typical polls and examining core strategies and beliefs about the United States' role in the world. This latest study:
- Provides mounting evidence of widespread public doubt about the country's international position. Using a scale of 1 to 200, the Index's "Anxiety Indicator" gauges Americans' anxiousness or contentment with the nation's foreign policy (where 1 is most content and 200 most anxious). The Spring 2007 Anxiety Indicator stands at 137, well above the neutral mid-point of 100 and a seven-point increase since September 2006.
- Shows that the public's disenchantment is leading to increased skepticism about the use of military force and a corresponding inclination to favor diplomatic options instead. As far as the vast majority of Americans are concerned, for example, military force should be "off the table" in dealing with Iran's nuclear program and its possible meddling in Iraq. Nor is the public confident about using military force as a tool for dealing with other countries' developing weapons of mass destruction — even though controlling the spread of such weapons is the public's top policy priority.
- Reveals that concern about global warming has increased significantly. Three-quarters of those surveyed say they worry about global warming, up 7 points from six months ago. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) believe that international cooperation can reduce global warming and 34 percent say the U.S. government can do "a lot" about the problem.
More highlights and the full text of the study are available here:
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