Dec. 3, 2009

U.S. Seen as Less Important, China as More Powerful

The general public and members of the Council on Foreign Relations are apprehensive and uncertain about America’s place in the world. Growing numbers in both groups see the United States playing a less important role globally, while acknowledging the increasing stature of China. And the general public, which is in a decidedly inward-looking frame […]

Dec. 3, 2009

Section 1: State of the World and America’s Global Role

The public overwhelmingly continues to express dissatisfaction with the way things are going in the United States. Just 25% say they are satisfied with national conditions – a figure that has changed little over the past several months. Americans express even more negative opinions about the way things are going in the world. Just 15% […]

Dec. 3, 2009

Section 2: Global Threats and Use of Military Force

Majorities of the public and Council on Foreign Relations members say Islamic extremist groups, Iran’s nuclear program and international financial instability represent major threats to the well-being of the United States. However, the public is much more likely than CFR members to view the Taliban’s growing strength in Afghanistan, North Korea’s nuclear program, and China’s […]

Dec. 3, 2009

Section 3: Top Global Problems, Long-Term Policy Goals

The public and members of the Council on Foreign Relations cite the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as the most important international problem facing the United States. Yet the two groups differ over the importance of other issues, most notably Pakistan: 18% of CFR members view Pakistan as America’s top international problem, compared with just […]

Dec. 3, 2009

Section 4: U.S. Allies and Country Favorability

Opinions among members of the Council on Foreign Relations about which U.S. allies and partners will be more important in the future – and those that will be less important – have changed dramatically since the last America’s Place in the World survey in 2005. Fully 58% now say that China will be a more […]

Dec. 3, 2009

Section 5: Obama’s Handling of Foreign Policy

The public expresses mixed views of Barack Obama’s foreign policy performance so far. More approve than disapprove of his handling of terrorist threats and global climate change, but the balance of public opinion is negative when it comes to his handling of immigration policy, Afghanistan, Iraq and his decision to close the U.S. military prison […]

Dec. 3, 2009

Section 6: Opinions about Afghanistan and Iraq

During a time when the Obama administration is pivoting the U.S. military’s focus from the conflict in Iraq to the one in Afghanistan, majorities of the American public and members of the Council on Foreign Relations express positive expectations for the future stability of Iraq. There is less optimism about the long-term chances for stability […]

Dec. 3, 2009

Section 7: Threat of Terrorism and Civil Liberties

Most Council on Foreign Relations members believe that America is safer from terrorism than it was at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. But the majority of Americans disagree, saying that the ability of terrorists to launch another major attack is either greater (29%) or the same (38%) as it was on 9/11. […]

Dec. 3, 2009

Section 8: Views of Free Trade

Council on Foreign Relations members continue to express much stronger support for free trade agreements than does the general public. Nearly nine-in-ten (88%) CFR members say that free trade agreements like NAFTA and the policies of the World Trade Organization have been a good thing for the United States; just 5% say they have been […]

Dec. 3, 2009

Council on Foreign Relations Commentary

Going It Alone in Tough Times James M. Lindsay and Parke T. Nicholson Council on Foreign Relations Tough economic times have always led the American public to turn inward rather than look beyond America’s shores. The Great Depression sparked a surge of isolationism that only ceased after Pearl Harbor. The stagflation of the 1970s combined […]

Aug. 18, 2004

Commentary by Council on Foreign Relations

On Foreign Policy, Red and Blue Voters Are Worlds Apart By Lee Feinstein, James M. Lindsay, and Max Boot, Council on Foreign Relations Sixteen months after the Iraq invasion, the red-state, blue-state divide has bled into foreign policy. A new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, in association with […]

Feb. 20, 2003

Council on Foreign Relations Commentary

Commentary by Lee Feinstein, Deputy Director of Studies, Council on Foreign Relations Support for War Hinges on Backing from Allies and U.N. Secretary of State Colin Powell’s two-hour briefing from double-spaced notes on loose leaf paper persuaded President Bush to go to the U.N. to support a war against Saddam Hussein, according to the now-famous […]

Oct. 10, 2002

Commentary by Lee Feinstein, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

A sizable majority of Americans continue to support a war to oust Saddam Hussein, and most seem to believe the worst about possible links between the Iraqi leader and the Al Qaeda terrorists, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center For The People & The Press in collaboration with the Council on […]

Sep. 5, 2002

Commentary by Lee Feinstein, Senior Fellow

  Council on Foreign Relations Politicians and political consultants generally believe elections are not won or lost on foreign policy issues. With the midterm congressional elections approaching, many political experts contend this is true, even in the aftermath of last September’s terrorist attacks and with a military confrontation with Iraq looming. The latest nationwide poll […]

Apr. 17, 2002

Commentary by Kenneth M. Pollack Director, National Security Studies, The Council on Foreign Relations

The Atlantic Grows Wider The gap between the United States and European public opinion on dealing with terrorism continues to grow, according to the latest Pew Research Center public opinion survey of the United States and four leading European countries (Germany, Italy, France, and Britain). The poll was conducted in association with the Council on […]

Jan. 22, 2002

Americans Favor Force in Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and……

Introduction The public expects and supports continued military action to combat terrorism. No less than 92% think the United States will have to use military force to reduce the threat of terrorism, even if Osama bin Laden is captured or killed. The perception that the fight against terrorism remains unfinished also is reflected in the […]

Oct. 24, 2001

Commentary by Kenneth M. Pollack, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

Hard Times and Hard Policies During the Cold War, public debate over foreign policy focused on the confrontation with the Soviet Union. There was widespread support for the strategy of containment-disagreements were essentially over tactics. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the display of overwhelming American military power in the Persian Gulf War, […]

Aug. 15, 2001

Commentary by Morton H. Halperin, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

Commentary by Morton H. Halperin, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations What the Poll Means The poll released today by the Pew Research Center, the International Herald Tribune, and the Council on Foreign Relations removes any doubt that large majorities in the major nations of Western Europe have concerns about President George W. Bush’s policies. […]

Jun. 11, 2001

Commentary by Morton H. Halperin, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

Commentary by Morton H. Halperin, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations Moderate Public Views Give Officials Great Latitude Policy analysts and politicians generally believe that elections are not won or lost on foreign policy issues any more. Interest groups of one kind or another ­- economic, ethnic, ideological -­ may have strong feelings on particular […]