Americans Assess US International Strategy
Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA)
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The dramatic Republican loss of the House and Senate has been widely interpreted as a critique of the Bush administration’s international strategy, leading to the departure of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and UN Ambassador John Bolton. However elections are a blunt instrument, raising questions about what Americans do not like about US international strategy. Is it simply that Americans are frustrated about the situation in Iraq, or do Americans differ with other aspects of US strategy? What international problems would they emphasize? Which policies would they change? The Bush administration came into office with an apparent determination to be less constrained than previous administrations when it comes to using military force. Do Americans believe that there has been a change in the world’s perception of US readiness to use military power? If so, do they think this has helped or hurt US security? What do Americans think has been the effect of the United States’ invasion of Iraq? In 2003, PIPA found a large majority assumed that the war in Iraq decreased the likelihood that Iran and other problem countries would try to acquire weapons of mass destruction. What do they think now? How do Americans feel about how the United States is dealing with Iran? The Iranian government claims to be enriching uranium solely for its nuclear energy program, while others in the international community, including the United States and the United Nations Security Council, suspect that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons. The Bush administration has resisted entering into talks with Iran until it first stops enriching uranium. Do Americans believe this is the best approach? Do Americans think that threats of air strikes will dissuade Iran from enriching uranium? Do they see air strikes as a viable military option? Do Americans think that the United States should be willing to negotiate a compromise with Iran? How do Americans feel about how the United States is dealing with Iraq? The Iraq Study Group has released its report calling for engaging Iran and Syria, holding an international conference and gradually drawing down US forces. Is American public opinion in line with these proposals? How do Americans feel about how the United States is dealing with North Korea? Do Americans feel that the United States should be willing to offer security guarantees or provide aid if North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons? To address these and other questions WorldPublicOpinion.org conducted a poll with a nationwide sample of 1,326 Americans, Nov. 21-29. It was developed in conjunction with the conference, “Leveraging U.S. Strength in an Uncertain World”, to be held by the Stanley Foundation Dec. 7 at the Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C. The poll was designed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland. It has a margin of error +/-2.7-3.9 %, depending on whether the question was asked to the whole sample or a half sample, and was fielded by Knowledge Networks, using its nationwide panel, which is randomly selected from the entire adult population and subsequently provided internet access. For more information about this methodology, go to www.knowledgenetworks.com/ganp.