In an article on the French site dedefensa entitled, "The Exhaustion of Despair" (L'e'puisement du de'sespoir), they show a recent Pew Research Center poll suggesting that Americans are becoming more and more uncomfortable with their hegemonic foreign policy role in the world. It also points to a growing gap between the elite in American policy making and the public with regard to current events in the world and America's role in them. The poll, which covered international topics among two groups, the CFR (Council on Foreign Relations) and Americans in general, was released by the PewResearchCenter on December 3, 2009, and shows a marked shift in American sentiment towards a return to a more isolated world position.
Dedefensa points to two statements in particular that bring this to the fore. In the poll, two isolationist statements were presented to the general public, "The US should go its own way and not worry about what other countries say," and "The US should mind its own business and let others get along on their own." The results, 44% agreeing with the first statement and 49% with the second, are both huge increases over the results from 2002, where only 25% agreed with the first and 30% agreed with the second, and demonstrate an even greater isolationist trend when compared with the very first poll results of these questions in 1964 when only 19% of Americans agreed with the first statement and 18% with the second.
Clearly there is a general malaise growing across the country that is causing Americans heightened disgust and despair over its foreign policy especially in light of the recent debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan and the growing quagmire that is our War on Terror. America's views and actions with regard to terrorism on the world's stage is becoming more and more divergent from the rest of the world and the shift, even if it's not readily apparent in the MSM in the US, is nevertheless acutely felt by all those who monitor world affairs.
The opinion of Americans that the US plays a less important role in world affairs than they did 10 years ago also highlights this trend. For the first time since the Carter administration, Americans now feel that the US role has diminished over the past ten years, 41%, versus those who think its role has increased, 25%. Just five years ago, at the height of the Bush administrations military offensives in Iraq and Afghanistan, only 20% thought our role had diminished while 44% of Americans saw its role as more important. It appears that the longer our troops languish in Iraq and Afghanistan under uncertain and ill-conceived occupational plans, the greater will become the overall sentiment to leave the problems of the world to others to sort out.