Thursday, September 19, 2013
War Weary By Jerome Grossman The Wall Street Journal reports in its survey of popular opinion polls that Americans across the board think the US is doing too much abroad, a shift from eight years ago. On the question of a strike on Syria, majorities of Republicans, independents and even men all say military action is not in the national interest. Even the elites of both parties, who tend to favor an assertive American role abroad because of investment opportunities, now say they favor focus on problems and investment at home. Republican Senator John McCain calls attention to the battle between the “non-interventionist wing of the party and the traditional internationalists who have carried American power into every world sector. Gallup and other pollsters find that the public has turned skeptical of wars, resents the casualties and the enormous cost to taxpayers. No longer can support be generated by playing the Star-Spangled Banner or putting the President on television. The steady stream of wars and the threats that precede them has fostered a certain weariness that has seeped across the US. A new kind of anti-intervention alliance has taken root. That hardly means Americans won't support military action at all, but it does mean that this President and probably his successor will find the case harder to make even though this new reality is not fundamentally partisan in nature. Obviously, politicians must consider these changes in public opinion. Yet, in the Syria crisis, President Obama asked the US Senate and House of Representatives for authorization to attack Syria, a power he did not receive. Given the public opinion numbers, Obama's difficulties were predictable - a surprising failure of political judgment and national unity, this time for peace for a war weary people.
Posted by Jerome Grossman at 9:22 PM