American public sours on the UN

“GET IT TOGETHER OR GET OUT” is the eye-catching headline on a new poll for the conservative Hudson Institute on U.S. attitudes toward the United Nations. The poll confirms that since 9/11, Americans have become more skeptical of the global body. Fifty-two percent of respondents feel more unfavorable toward the United Nations and just 27 ...

607148_UNflag5.jpg
607148_UNflag5.jpg

"GET IT TOGETHER OR GET OUT" is the eye-catching headline on a new poll for the conservative Hudson Institute on U.S. attitudes toward the United Nations. The poll confirms that since 9/11, Americans have become more skeptical of the global body. Fifty-two percent of respondents feel more unfavorable toward the United Nations and just 27 percent feel more favorable. Just 4 percent are much more favorable to it, which should act as a reality check to those who expect that in the post-Bolton-Bush era, the global hegemon will be sending bouquets, not brickbats to Turtle Bay.

A plurality—44 to 37 percent—feels that the United Nations generally opposes U.S. interests. Fifty-seven percent of respondents think that if the United Nations can't be "reformed and made more effective, it should be scrapped altogether". The poll, though, is far from all bad news for those who support greater U.S. engagement with the United Nations. A whopping 73 percent favor the United States taking a "a more active role in the UN" as it is "the best way for us to influence world affairs."

The other people who'll be pleasantly surprised with the results are the French. Despite the survey phrasing the question on France's membership on the Security Council like this: "France has not been a world power for almost a century. They shouldn't be a permanent member of the Security Council – holding a powerful veto over world and American interests," 44 percent of respondents still disagree. One final thing worth noting: Democrats and Republicans hold nearly identical views of the global body.  

“GET IT TOGETHER OR GET OUT” is the eye-catching headline on a new poll for the conservative Hudson Institute on U.S. attitudes toward the United Nations. The poll confirms that since 9/11, Americans have become more skeptical of the global body. Fifty-two percent of respondents feel more unfavorable toward the United Nations and just 27 percent feel more favorable. Just 4 percent are much more favorable to it, which should act as a reality check to those who expect that in the post-Bolton-Bush era, the global hegemon will be sending bouquets, not brickbats to Turtle Bay.

A plurality—44 to 37 percent—feels that the United Nations generally opposes U.S. interests. Fifty-seven percent of respondents think that if the United Nations can’t be “reformed and made more effective, it should be scrapped altogether”. The poll, though, is far from all bad news for those who support greater U.S. engagement with the United Nations. A whopping 73 percent favor the United States taking a “a more active role in the UN” as it is “the best way for us to influence world affairs.”

The other people who’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results are the French. Despite the survey phrasing the question on France’s membership on the Security Council like this: “France has not been a world power for almost a century. They shouldn’t be a permanent member of the Security Council – holding a powerful veto over world and American interests,” 44 percent of respondents still disagree. One final thing worth noting: Democrats and Republicans hold nearly identical views of the global body.  

James Forsyth is assistant editor at Foreign Policy.

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.