Americans still unenthused about Arab Spring

President Obama may see the recent uprisings in the Middle East as a “moment of oppotunity,” but most Americans are not particularly enthusiastic about it, according to a new foreign policy poll from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press:    The good news for the president is that despite all the ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
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553118_110610_arabspring2.jpg

President Obama may see the recent uprisings in the Middle East as a "moment of oppotunity," but most Americans are not particularly enthusiastic about it, according to a new foreign policy poll from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press: 

President Obama may see the recent uprisings in the Middle East as a “moment of oppotunity,” but most Americans are not particularly enthusiastic about it, according to a new foreign policy poll from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press: 

 

The good news for the president is that despite all the sturm and drang over his “1967 borders” remarks, a plurality of Americans — 50 percent — say he’s striking the right balance in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, essentially unchanged since last year. 

The survey found a nearly even division on the question of whether the Untied States should “mind its own business in the world”. This is little changed since last year, indicating that Americans are still more isolationist than they’ve been for about half a century. Perhaps indicating the increasing influence of the Tea Party movement, substantially more Republicans (46 percent) now see reducing America’s military commitments as a major priority. 

In the not surprising but striking category is the stark partisan division on attitudes toward the United Nations:

There’s not much concensus within the parties on questions of use of force, trade, terrorism, or diplomacy — and in any case, the division between the parties on those questions is not always well defined when compared to economic or social issues. This survey shows conservative Republicans are more pro-Israel than liberal Democrats, but there’s not much daylight between the moderate wings of both parties.

On the U.N. however, the positions are absolutely clear.  Could it be that the role of international organizations is the most polarizing partisan issue in American foreign policy?

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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