More Americans Believe US Has Become ‘Less Important’

Dec 4, 2013 6:00am

It’s a first.

More Americans now believe the United States has become a less important and less powerful player on the world stage.

A newly released survey by the Pew Research Center found that for the first time in 40 years of polling, 53 percent of Americans believe the U.S is less important globally, a percentage that has more than doubled since 2004.

Meanwhile, 70 percent believe the U.S. has lost respect internationally, a number similar to the one reached in 2008 during President George W. Bush’s second term.

Following a government shutdown in October and amid a grim economy, the survey’s aim was to take a look at how the public sees the U.S.’s global role.

The survey also found that American’s are increasingly skeptical about the country’s  international engagement.

Fifty-two percent of Americans, the highest percentage yet, want the U.S. to withdraw from the world and “mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own.”

“To put it bluntly, there is a certain war fatigue because of the use of military force particularly in the Middle East,” said Carroll Doherty, the associate director of the Pew Research Center.  “When President Obama proposed military action against Syria in response to its use of chemical weapons, the public was very strongly opposed to that. There was not much support for the Libyan operation in 2011, and in this recent poll you even have the public looking back to the war in Afghanistan as not being terribly good for the United States.”

According to the survey, only 31 percent of Americans believe the war in Afghanistan made the U.S. safer from terrorism.

The survey said these sentiments should not be confused with isolationism. The American public still supports economic engagement with other nations, Doherty told ABC News.

Overall, 77 percent of Americans said growing trade and business ties with the rest of the world is a good thing.

Moving forward, Doherty believes that support for America’s global engagement will continue to increase if the economy turns around.

“It obviously depends on the world situation and what demands are placed on the United States, but I think most of it depends on how people are feeling about things at home,” he said.

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