Do Americans really want to disengage from the world?

posted at 9:21 am on August 6, 2014 by Noah Rothman

The proliferation of crises around the globe has, for the most part, been met with a yawn from the political class. Americans, they say, are tired of being the world’s policeman. Most media and political elite believe Americans are happy to let the world can sort out it affairs for now.

They are not entirely wrong. “Americans in large numbers want the U.S. to reduce its role in world affairs even as a showdown with Russia over Ukraine preoccupies Washington,” an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll in April found. “In a marked change from past decades, nearly half of those surveyed want the U.S. to be less active on the global stage, with fewer than one-fifth calling for more active engagement—an anti-interventionist current that sweeps across party lines.”

Americans got what they asked for, and Washington retreated from the world stage even as the war in Ukraine grew more violent, Iraq and Syria witnessed the rise of ISIS, and violence in a series of Central American nations precipitated an exodus of migrants who streamed across America’s southern border.

While Americans may have welcomed the dual policies of disengagement and retrenchment, they sure don’t seem to like the results of those policies. Another NBC News/WSJ poll released on Tuesday indicates that Americans are not happy with the level of disengagement displayed by the American government in the face of a number of pressing threats to global security.

WSJ poll

Respondents were asked about a series of crises; the war in Europe, an attack on a commercial airliner by Russian separatists, the civil war in Syria, the war in Gaza, ISIS’s rise to power in the Fertile Crescent, and the crisis on the southern border. Pluralities in all cases were dissatisfied with the United States’ level of involvement in those crises.

When asked what American policy they would prefer to see, many said that they were unfamiliar with or had no opinion on those particular matters. Among those who were familiar with those crises, however, the consensus is clear: America is “not involved enough” in world affairs.

Americans may like the theories of disengagement and retrenchment, but they do not seem especially fond of them in practice. While Americans are war-weary and cautious about reengaging in global affairs after a decade of conflict, they are also apprehensive about increasing global instability. An electorate plagued by anxiety about the state of foreign affairs is usually not predisposed to vote for the status quo. Maybe after Americans vent their unease at the polls, the political class will wake up to the fact that Americans are plagued by fears, not just about their own country, but for the world.


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To a certain extent we have no choice.

For one thing, how can we be taking action in other countries when disease infested scum can cross our borders at will?

ConstantineXI on August 6, 2014 at 9:24 AM

I’d like us to not screw over the people who put their trust in us. Obama had done just that. He’s a disgrace and a disgusting human being.

Blake on August 6, 2014 at 9:25 AM

When asked what American policy they would prefer to see, many said that they were unfamiliar with or had no opinion on those particular matters. Among those who were familiar with those crises, however, the consensus is clear: America is “not involved enough” in world affairs.

The result of the combined efforts of an agitprop media and a failure to teach non-partisan civics and history in public schools.

Bread and Circuses

workingclass artist on August 6, 2014 at 9:27 AM

Obama is for helping those who want to harm us. Thus, anything he does will come with very bad consequences.

astonerii on August 6, 2014 at 9:28 AM

Americans are too stupid to be trusted with foreign policy preferences.

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 6, 2014 at 9:31 AM

Disengage from the Worlds problems now and we will pay big time later.

Johnnyreb on August 6, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Americans are used to the influence we used to have. They don’t know why the world no longer respects us. 47% of Americans need a clue what has recently changed.

Change you can believe in.
Transformation.
Reset.
Capitulation.
Surrender.
Decline.
etc….

freedomfirst on August 6, 2014 at 9:34 AM

To a certain extent we have no choice.

For one thing, how can we be taking action in other countries when disease infested scum can cross our borders at will?

ConstantineXI on August 6, 2014 at 9:24 AM

Indeed.

Even the NYT is backpedalling a little about porous borders or something…

““Ebola doesn’t permit a halfway engagement,” said Walter Lorenzi, the chief of the Doctors Without Borders’ mission here. His group, which has been battling the disease on the front lines, declared the Ebola epidemic out of control in Sierra Leone and its West African neighbors.

“It’s not astonishing that it is spreading,” Mr. Lorenzi added, criticizing the local effort to fight it. “You’ve got to attend to the smallest details.”

The outbreak was first identified in March in Guinea’s remote Forest Region. Since then, it has spread with a deadly swiftness, spilling over porous borders in one of the poorest parts of Africa. The epidemic also leapfrogged by air after an American working in Liberia flew to Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, and died there last week. On Monday, Nigerian news media reported that a doctor who treated him had contracted the disease as well….”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/05/world/africa/lax-quarantine-undercuts-ebola-fight-in-africa.html?_r=0

workingclass artist on August 6, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Americans, they say, are tired of being the world’s policeman.

Not quite true. I’ve heard the same thing in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, etc. And that’s with a marxist left hectoring us both abroad and at home. What we are tired of is an American President who echos the same refrain. Hell, Jimmy Carter stood up to the Russians and eventually the Iranians (incompetently, but at least the intent was there) and Wilson and FDR took us to war.

What we are tired of is ivory tower, incompetent, anti-American leadership. Which is the entire Fascist-Democrat party, and a good chunk of the GOP too.

rbj on August 6, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Hot Air – always seeking answers from the echo chamber of pundits.

FrankT on August 6, 2014 at 9:35 AM

it’s weird watching the policy beginnings of a new world war in real time.

bloghooligan on August 6, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Disengage from the Worlds problems now and we will pay big time later.

Johnnyreb on August 6, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Obama is the one doing the engaging. Have you seen the results of his engagements with the rest of the world?
How is Libya doing? How about Syria? Afghanistan? Iraq? How about his dealings with Israel? He has been working with some of the countries to our southern Border as well, is that helping us? Face it, it is better at this point to just let the world move without us until we can get someone in office that has the best interest of the nation at heart, rather than the best interest of everyone but this nation.

astonerii on August 6, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Americans are too stupid to be trusted with foreign policy preferences.

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 6, 2014 at 9:31 AM

Disengage from the Worlds problems now and we will pay big time later.

Johnnyreb on August 6, 2014 at 9:32 AM

“Nature abhors a vacuum.” ― Aristotle

workingclass artist on August 6, 2014 at 9:37 AM

For years, we’ve had a pick and choose attitude towards world
events, conflicts, IMO. Now we’re simply letting places where
we’ve had a vested interest, and have Chosen to engage, just
go to Sh*t….fine, if that’s the way people want it…which
leads me to this.

There’s a big difference between allowing and watching
you neighbor trash their property/yard…

another matter altogether allowing YOUR property/yard to be
trashed by the neighbors…

Yeah, I know, another topic for another thread….

ToddPA on August 6, 2014 at 9:38 AM

it’s weird watching the policy beginnings of a new world war in real time.

bloghooligan on August 6, 2014 at 9:36 AM

It’s even weirder watching history repeat itself on a global scale.

A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.

The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
and hastens to the place where it rises.

The wind blows to the south
and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
and on its circuits the wind returns.

All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.

All things are full of weariness;
a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.

What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us.

There is no remembrance of former things,
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things yet to be among those who come after.

Ecclesiastes 1:4-11

workingclass artist on August 6, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Hot Air – always seeking answers from the echo chamber of pundits.

FrankT on August 6, 2014 at 9:35 AM

There’s quite a bit of disagreement on this subject on “the right”.

forest on August 6, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Cognitive dissonance is alive and well in the brains of thinking ‘mericans. The others have have mastered the ‘art’ playing with their thumbs while their heads are firmly established up their rectums. At some point we will have to reengage with evil. It won’t be a pretty picture.

vnvet on August 6, 2014 at 9:46 AM

For years, we’ve had a pick and choose attitude towards world
events, conflicts, IMO. Now we’re simply letting places where
we’ve had a vested interest, and have Chosen to engage, just
go to Sh*t….fine, if that’s the way people want it…which
leads me to this.

There’s a big difference between allowing and watching
you neighbor trash their property/yard…

another matter altogether allowing YOUR property/yard to be
trashed by the neighbors…

Yeah, I know, another topic for another thread….

ToddPA on August 6, 2014 at 9:38 AM

The 3rd world and it’s problems is here…

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-Texas/2014/08/06/Texas-County-Says-No-Undocumented-Aliens

But this demographic dumping isn’t just happening here but in Europe as well & it’s getting worse.

“PARIS – Migrants flowing into Europe in unprecedented numbers are causing a tense summer in France, as clashes break out among asylum-seekers in overcrowded camps and police fire tear gas to quell the chaos.

Sudanese and Eritreans battled in the heat in France’s port city of Calais, frustrations rising as the Africans jockey for space while trying to sneak into Britain – the dream destination some 20 miles away….”

http://www.theherald-news.com/2014/08/06/migrants-clash-in-france-as-camp-tensions-soar/axa3i6p/

workingclass artist on August 6, 2014 at 9:46 AM

Face it, it is better at this point to just let the world move without us until we can get someone in office that has the best interest of the nation at heart, rather than the best interest of everyone but this nation.

astonerii on August 6, 2014 at 9:36 AM

I don’t disagree with you. I am just saying we are going to pay one huge price in the future for walking away from Africa and the Middle East. Like it or not the United States has taken part ownership in the region for the last couple of decades and we just up and abandoned them in less than 2 years after Obamas tough guy routine got smacked down.

Johnnyreb on August 6, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Hmm. Increasing retrenchment/disengagement in a world of increasing global instability.

Wonder if there’s a relationship?

unclesmrgol on August 6, 2014 at 9:48 AM

Do Americans really want to disengage from the world?

Wrong question.

Does USA have the financial wherewithal to engage the world?

Being Policeman of the world ain’t cheap. It costs a lot of money.

We don’t have money to repair our decrepit old bridges and roads.

Ned Pepper on August 6, 2014 at 9:48 AM

Americans are happy to let the world can sort out it affairs for now.

Coffee dude; never start the day without it.

abobo on August 6, 2014 at 9:48 AM

Americans basically are against troop involvement in foreign conflicts at this time. What they aren’t against is maintaining the threat of troop involvement.

Obama’s beta-male personality combined with his life-long beliefs that the U.S. has been the cause of all the world’s problems caused him to take both the first and the second options off the table — he’s not sending American troops into any more conflicts and is trying desperately to figure out a way to flee Afghanistan (which he got himself into by trying to avoid the impression he would be a completely toothless president back in 2008). But he’s also letting the world’s bad guys know that they can pretty much do anything and the U.S. isn’t going to get involved.

The fact Obama refused to go into Syria was the green light to all those counties and factions that this guy truly defines the definition of ‘wimp’ and it was OK to keep pushing the envelope further and further to see what you can get away with. It’s the obvious show of weakness that Americans don’t like, but as with Carter’s inaction as president, the only way to put the fear back into America’s enemies is for America to actually do something meaningful somewhere. And that’s not happening until 1/20/17 at the earliest, because the only people Obama feels comfortable being aggressive with are conservative Republicans (or conservative Israelis…)

jon1979 on August 6, 2014 at 9:48 AM

Wrong question.

Does USA have the financial wherewithal to engage the world?

Being Policeman of the world ain’t cheap. It costs a lot of money.

We don’t have money to repair our decrepit old bridges and roads.

Ned Pepper on August 6, 2014 at 9:48 AM

Thank you for coming out for fracking and additional oil exploration on government lands in order for the U.S. to raise more money to repair our decrepit old bridges and roads. I didn’t think you had it in you.

jon1979 on August 6, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Does USA have the financial wherewithal to engage the world?

Being Policeman of the world ain’t cheap. It costs a lot of money.

We don’t have money to repair our decrepit old bridges and roads.

Ned Pepper on August 6, 2014 at 9:48 AM

Obama and Rand Paul BOTH standing up and applauding your ignorance and lack of understanding about world affairs.

Happy Nomad on August 6, 2014 at 9:54 AM

I don’t disagree with you. I am just saying we are going to pay one huge price in the future for walking away from Africa and the Middle East. Like it or not the United States has taken part ownership in the region for the last couple of decades and we just up and abandoned them in less than 2 years after Obamas tough guy routine got smacked down.

Johnnyreb on August 6, 2014 at 9:47 AM

I agree with you. Just be ready with your explanations to ensure that people know where the blame lies. Otherwise, those who do not know real history will repeat its worst parts.

astonerii on August 6, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Do Americans really want to disengage from the world?

If rules of engagement for helpless soldiers tries to turn them into missionaries and targets with bullseyes on their backs and chests, and forbids them from retaliating on penalty of imprisonment, the answer is HELL YES!

MaiDee on August 6, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Obama is the one doing the engaging. Have you seen the results of his engagements with the rest of the world?


Face it, it is better at this point to just let the world move without us until we can get someone in office that has the best interest of the nation at heart, rather than the best interest of everyone but this nation.

astonerii on August 6, 2014 at 9:36 AM

He seems to want us to fail/falter to prove his stance that we’re not exceptional any more than, say, Greece is.

Libya: lead from behind. He removed Qadaffi who had been neutered.
Syria: waited until more than 100,000 people killed and red line crossed before … doing nothing. He’s arming al Qaeda.
Afghanistan: the good war. Our retreat will look like the Soviet humiliation in 1980.
Iraq: we retreated before Iraq was equipped to defend itself. Iraq will fall because of the Putz of the United States.
Israel: he’s feebly calling for unilateral cease fires while Israel gets battered by jihadis.

You forgot Iran where he ignored the Green Revolution. How about his taking sides with the Brotherhood in Egypt? This guy is engaging, but to the U.S. detriment. It’s as if it’s on purpose.

Oh, yeah…and our southern border is an open door. Heck, there’s no door. It’s simply “open”.

freedomfirst on August 6, 2014 at 9:58 AM

In the 30′s and 70′s America was isolationist.

It didn’t last.

myiq2xu on August 6, 2014 at 9:59 AM

Face it, it is better at this point to just let the world move without us until we can get someone in office that has the best interest of the nation at heart, rather than the best interest of everyone but this nation.

astonerii on August 6, 2014 at 9:36 AM

It is best to let the world go on without us. Certainly, if we do not bother the world, the world will not bother us. If we hadn’t put our presence into Saudi Arabia, Bin Ladin would have been our best friend. If we hadn’t killed Saddam Hussein, Iraq would be a place of milk and honey, and completely at peace with the world. Ditto for Iran. If we hadn’t helped the Libyans, ditto. In fact, Egypt — we did nothing there and people who like America immediately came to power, right? The Chinese are only good customers and suppliers; why should we care about anything else? And the Russians just need to adjust their borders a little bit for living room and everything will calm down and they’ll stop flying nuclear bombers down the coast of California.

There are a lot of positives in sticking one’s head in the sand. That giddy feeling of asphyxiation…

unclesmrgol on August 6, 2014 at 10:00 AM

I walked into the barber shop the other day and sat down.

The barber asked me what kind of haircut I wanted.

I told him “Whatever you think.”

He said “You sure?”

I said “Yup. Surprise me.”

I don’t like the haircut I got.

unclesmrgol on August 6, 2014 at 10:03 AM

We don’t have money to repair our decrepit old bridges and roads.

Ah, the old “roads and bridges” trope. I knew that would be trotted out eventually.

We all know that government and only government has ever built or repaired a bridge or road. Government is the All and Everything.

Government is God.

Bat Chain Puller on August 6, 2014 at 10:03 AM

unclesmrgol on August 6, 2014 at 10:00 AM

You really are something special aren’t you?
Obama has been active on the world stage, and everywhere he is active he works against our best interest. If we had a president actively working to better our position in the world, I am all for engagement with the world. That is not the case today.

astonerii on August 6, 2014 at 10:05 AM

I think that this is the wrong question. The American people don’t mind being involved in other countries, we just mind our soldiers getting hit with pot shots and not being able to strike back. If we went into these conflicts to WIN (which involves actually defining what winning is and withdrawing when it is accomplished) then Americans would be behind it all the way.

cptacek on August 6, 2014 at 10:05 AM

In the 30′s and 70′s America was isolationist.

It didn’t last.

myiq2xu on August 6, 2014 at 9:59 AM

It rarely does.

America was isolationist at the beginning of WWI because it was a european war….We were isolationist at the beginning of WWII as well…

The current administration is operating under a false premise to score immediate political results and lacks the capacity to form any sort of policy beyond an immediate political advantage for themselves and their leader.

This immaturity and ignorance is plain to others on the world stage.

workingclass artist on August 6, 2014 at 10:08 AM

I think that this is the wrong question. The American people don’t mind being involved in other countries, we just mind our soldiers getting hit with pot shots and not being able to strike back. If we went into these conflicts to WIN (which involves actually defining what winning is and withdrawing when it is accomplished) then Americans would be behind it all the way.

cptacek on August 6, 2014 at 10:05 AM

The irony is that americans who actually bought into the american imperialism crapola elected a dictator with imperial pretensions.

workingclass artist on August 6, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Americans may like the theories of disengagement and retrenchment, but they do not seem especially fond of them in practice.

Nonsense. You are making a false comparison solely between those that think we’re doing too much and those that think we aren’t doing enough.

The real contrast is between those that are either satisfied (with the Obama strategy of ignoring problems, or non-engagement) or think we are doing too much and those that think we should be doing more:

Plane shotdown over Ukraine – 33% OK, 30% do more
Ukrain / Russia generally – 38 / 28
Civil War in Syria – 34 / 21
Israel / Hamas – 34 / 28

The only one that’s close is the rise of ISIS, 26% OK, 30% do more

The immigration crisis is a domestic issue and doesn’t count in my book.

When Russia shoots down a civilian airliner and more people are ok with doing nothing or think we’re doing too much than think we should do more – that is an obvious sign that people are more interested in disengaging on the world stage.

deadrody on August 6, 2014 at 10:13 AM

Wrong question.

Does USA have the financial wherewithal to engage the world?

Being Policeman of the world ain’t cheap. It costs a lot of money.

We don’t have money to repair our decrepit old bridges and roads.

Ded Pecker on August 6, 2014 at 9:48 AM

But yet we have the money to be South America’s baby sitter?

Us actual taxpayers were forced to pony up $860 BILLION to repair our old bridges and roads. Obama decided to fork that over to his campaign donors in the “green” scam technology sector.’

So sorry, fukktard…that check has been written and cashed.

HumpBot Salvation on August 6, 2014 at 10:13 AM

I walked into the barber shop the other day and sat down.

The barber asked me what kind of haircut I wanted.

I told him “Whatever you think.”

He said “You sure?”

I said “Yup. Surprise me.”

I don’t like the haircut I got.

unclesmrgol on August 6, 2014 at 10:03 AM

That is how I get my hair cut. I like my hair cuts. Or, I could care less what my hair looks like. I never see it.
It is a matter of import. If you hair cut is important to you, you would not say, what ever dude, just cut it.

Well, here is a more apt situation we are in…

I like my hair cut a certain way.
The only place I have available to get my hair cut is the Obama Barber Shop. But Obama only cuts hair one way. A way I do not like it. A way that damages the respect I have in my community. Sure, having long hair might not be ideal, but compared to his hair cut, I would be even worse off.

astonerii on August 6, 2014 at 10:16 AM

I can’t speak for every American. I can only speak for myself, the father of an Infantry soldier.

I am opposed to spilling the blood of our best and brightest on half-baked ‘adventures’. Every American life lost in Iraq and Afghanistan was lost for nothing now. These should be the criteria that must be met prior to engaging in any military action on foreign soil:

1. Do we have a strategi interest in the outcome?
2. If we engage, what is the goal?
3. What is the plan to achieve the goal?
4. Is the goal actually achievable?
5. What is the plan for AFTER the goal has been achieved?
6. Do the American people support this action?

If you don’t have the right answers to all six then we have no business sacrificing our young men and women.

AtTheRubicon on August 6, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Americans are happy to let the world can sort out it affairs for now.

Coffee dude; never start the day without it.

abobo on August 6, 2014 at 9:48 AM

I don’t think that would help.

Every. Single. Post.

Yoop on August 6, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Does USA have the financial wherewithal to engage the world?

Being Policeman of the world ain’t cheap. It costs a lot of money.

We don’t have money to repair our decrepit old bridges and roads.

Ned Pepper on August 6, 2014 at 9:48 AM

Obama and Rand Paul BOTH standing up and applauding your ignorance and lack of understanding about world affairs.

Happy Nomad on August 6, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Excuse me ? How does stating FACTS about one thing mean someone doesn’t understand another ?

The FACT that we don’t have the financial resources to be policing the entire world does not have any bearing whatsoever on anyone’s understanding of world affairs.

The simple facts are twofold – 1) the US cannot afford to project military power across the globe to such an extent that would allow for effective policing of the world, and 2) that fact is further complicated by the inability of the two political parties to agree on a strategy of engagement with the rest of the world.

Understanding the existential threat that ISIS presents does not change the fact that the US doesn’t have the money to deal with it, let alone the political will and public support to do so.

deadrody on August 6, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Of all the problems the federal government has, lack of money ain’t one of them. That’s just ridiculous.

Bat Chain Puller on August 6, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Another false choice or basis is also being advanced here that because Obama and the Democrats are spending us into oblivion on the domestic front, that MUST mean we have the money to spend to engage the world’s problems.

Simple not true. We don’t have the money for either one of them.

Spending the US into oblivion will only hasten our exit, entirely, from the world stage. Making that problem worse, and making that day come even sooner is not improving things.

deadrody on August 6, 2014 at 10:24 AM

I can’t speak for every American. I can only speak for myself, the father of an Infantry soldier.

I am opposed to spilling the blood of our best and brightest on half-baked ‘adventures’. Every American life lost in Iraq and Afghanistan was lost for nothing now. These should be the criteria that must be met prior to engaging in any military action on foreign soil:

1. Do we have a strategi interest in the outcome?
2. If we engage, what is the goal?
3. What is the plan to achieve the goal?
4. Is the goal actually achievable?
5. What is the plan for AFTER the goal has been achieved?
6. Do the American people support this action?

If you don’t have the right answers to all six then we have no business sacrificing our young men and women.

AtTheRubicon on August 6, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Hard to argue with this logic at all.

deadrody on August 6, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Of all the problems the federal government has, lack of money ain’t one of them. That’s just ridiculous.

Bat Chain Puller on August 6, 2014 at 10:18 AM

That’s hysterical. That is THE problem. It will eventually be the end of us. You think there is a tendency toward isolationism now ? Wait until the economy really craters as a result of rising debt.

deadrody on August 6, 2014 at 10:26 AM

deadrody on August 6, 2014 at 10:18 AM

How did our standing drop so fast, when we are accumulating trillion dollar a year deficits? How much did Bush spend on Iraq and Afghanistan?

WryTrvllr on August 6, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Spending the US into oblivion will only hasten our exit, entirely, from the world stage. Making that problem worse, and making that day come even sooner is not improving things.

deadrody on August 6, 2014 at 10:24 AM

This is by design.

WryTrvllr on August 6, 2014 at 10:28 AM

If you don’t have the right answers to all six then we have no business sacrificing our young men and women.

AtTheRubicon on August 6, 2014 at 10:16 AM

The best laid plans of men for war last right up until the first shot is fired.
Here is the really important part of going to war. If you will not let the military win, do not go. That is pretty much it. We can win any conflict. It is a matter of allowing the military to do it.

astonerii on August 6, 2014 at 10:34 AM

think possibly many of us are tired of fighting to a draw.
fighting a war is different then setting ROE that, for all intents and purposes, make the protection of the service members life secondary and even tertiary in many cases.

dmacleo on August 6, 2014 at 10:39 AM

How much did Bush spend on Iraq and Afghanistan?

WryTrvllr on August 6, 2014 at 10:27 AM

everything congress allowed him to.
how much did congress spend that he tried to stop?
bush was a big spender, no defending that, but when pelosi took over it jumped even higher.
then Jan 2009 came along and poof…more spending records created.

dmacleo on August 6, 2014 at 10:42 AM

There is a big difference between being isolationist and letting other countries sort out their own affairs…

Maintaining an empire of bases and forces around the world costs trillions…which we no longer have thanks to outsourcing and globalization…

PatriotRider on August 6, 2014 at 10:42 AM

The problem most Americans have with engagement is that we’ve been in Afghanistan far too long. Add this to the debacle of Iraq where we were also in country too long with that asinine democracy building policy and we have the hand wringing of what to do now. We can see what doing nothing or leading from behind stupidity has led us but we can also see the wounded vets and very little gained from our loss. Americans are overwhelmed right now with all the headlines from the border to ebola. We’ve learned not to trust the fed govt and most state govts. They are heavy handed and wasteful with our treasure. We do not see a way out for ourselves so it’s no wonder we aren’t worried about the rest of the world.

Kissmygrits on August 6, 2014 at 10:54 AM

It is, after all, an LSD poll, the network of David Gregory.

formwiz on August 6, 2014 at 11:03 AM

the question is not whether the US wants to disengage from the world, but that does the world want to disengage from the US. Those who hate us look at the US as a huge, fat piggy bank. We are there for their taking. We are engaged whether we want to or not. The only decision is: do we choose to take the initiative and engage? or let our enemies pick the time and place and react to them? The best way to lose the game is to go into the “prevent defense”.

warmairfan on August 6, 2014 at 11:24 AM

In the 30′s and 70′s America was isolationist.

It didn’t last.

myiq2xu on August 6, 2014 at 9:59 AM

It’s becoming quite clear that since so many of the political and media elite haven’t learned from history, we’re destined to repeat the 1930′s….not only domestically, but internationally as well.

Far too many of the political and media elite seem to think that international players (countries and organizations) only act on the basis of reacting to what the US does or doesn’t do. They don’t seem to accept that these players have their own agenda’s and goals – many of which are motivated by their evil intentions.

Disengagement and retrenchment, or phrased a little differently, isolationism, is doing nothing to prevent these evil entities / persons from working their agenda. In fact, as the results demonstrate, they are accelerating their efforts in the leadership vacuum that the feckless and naive Obama policies have delivered.

It’s natural, when the nation is experiencing severe economic issues, to turn one’s attention inwards – but again, we’re 5 years beyond the official end of the recession, yet almost half (49%) think we’re still in a recession.

When policy is made based on incredibly naive and flawed assumptions, and the one making the policy has a fundamentally flawed vision of what this country was and is – it’s no surprise that what results is little more than a massive clusterfark that makes the problems worse, not better.

Athos on August 6, 2014 at 11:25 AM

AtTheRubicon on August 6, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Those are very logical and necessary questions – and I doubt that the current crop of policy makers inside the Beltway are asking most of them as they try to determine policy.

As I’ve noted above, when one starts from a fundamentally flawed and wrong position, rarely does a policy initiative based on that actually work out.

The only thing I really see missing from your list is the word ‘Victory’. In a number of those items, I would substitute ‘Victory’ for ‘Goal’.

For some reason, too many have forgotten that the ultimate goal has to be ‘Victory’. A negotiated settlement rarely is a long term settlement or a solution to a problem, but achieving ‘Victory’ by totally defeating the enemy more often does result in a long term effect. The challenge is building the case and demonstrating the will to achieve ‘Victory’. That’s something that we’ve, as a nation, seem to have lacked across the last 70 or so years.

Athos on August 6, 2014 at 11:31 AM

No, Americans don’t want to disengage from the world but Obama and his leftist followers do.

rplat on August 6, 2014 at 11:36 AM

Disengagement and retrenchment, or phrased a little differently, isolationism, is doing nothing to prevent these evil entities / persons from working their agenda. In fact, as the results demonstrate, they are accelerating their efforts in the leadership vacuum that the feckless and naive Obama policies have delivered.

If we don’t lead, someone else will. The difference between us and them is we don’t want to control the whole world. That’s part of what makes America exceptional.

myiq2xu on August 6, 2014 at 11:36 AM

Latest WHO Update.

day cases deaths
jul 01 759 467
jul 03 779 481
jul 08 844 518
jul 10 888 539
jul 15 964 603
jul 17 982 613
jul 19 1048 632
jul 24 1093 660
jul 27 1201 672
jul 31 1323 729
aug 04 1603 887
aug 06 1711 932

Table produced by a script reading from here:
http://www.who.int/csr/don/archive/disease/ebola/en/

Latest detailed report (where last row of numbers above come from):
http://www.who.int/csr/don/2014_08_06_ebola/en/

Nigeria has: 9 cases: 2 probable, 7 suspected NONE confirmed and that includes the 1 death.

All the rest are still confined to West Africa although there are a few people in western nations and a few in Saudi Arabia being tested — WHO is not reporting those in the reports above.

gh on August 6, 2014 at 11:36 AM

We don’t have money to repair our decrepit old bridges and roads.

Ned Pepper on August 6, 2014 at 9:48 AM

B.S. Maybe if they actually used the money for bridge and road repair instead of shifting it to other items, they would get done. Is that too much to ask?

dominigan on August 6, 2014 at 11:38 AM

The only thing I really see missing from your list is the word ‘Victory’. In a number of those items, I would substitute ‘Victory’ for ‘Goal’.

For some reason, too many have forgotten that the ultimate goal has to be ‘Victory’. A negotiated settlement rarely is a long term settlement or a solution to a problem, but achieving ‘Victory’ by totally defeating the enemy more often does result in a long term effect. The challenge is building the case and demonstrating the will to achieve ‘Victory’. That’s something that we’ve, as a nation, seem to have lacked across the last 70 or so years.

Athos on August 6, 2014 at 11:31 AM

I agree but I used ‘goal’ because ‘victory’ is too often not sufficiently specific. Our goal might be to do to ‘them’ what the Greeks did to Troy, or it might be something farther down the scale. Too often leaders talk of ‘victory’ and everybody agrees, “Yes we want victory” without defining the shape of that victory.

I should probably have also added a seventh criterion:

The fortitude to see the job through to the end.

AtTheRubicon on August 6, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Most media and political elite believe Americans are happy to let the world can sort out it affairs for now.

Do you people not have editors?

As for the subject at hand, I can see what will happen. Europe will bust open again with all kinds of conflict. The US will – once again – expend blood and treasure. Five years after the end of the conflicts, the Europeans will be right back to hating our guts again.

CelebrateHomogeneity on August 6, 2014 at 12:03 PM

We don’t have money to repair our decrepit old bridges and roads.

Led Zepper on August 6, 2014 at 9:48 AM

When the Democrats start fixing those bridges and roads, we’ll stop laughing at you. Blue States are in fact the biggest offenders (see the 2007 bridge collapse in Al Franken’s state).

And what about this Blue State’s negligence?

In New York City alone, dozens of local bridges and overpasses have been deemed structurally deficient, including a Queens section of the Belt Parkway that handles 142,100 cars each day, was built in 1940 and is currently inspected every two years, or a portion I-278 near York St. in Brooklyn that handles 121,124 cars on a given day and was constructed in 1944.

In 13 of New York’s southern counties alone 480 bridges have been rated structurally deficient, making it easier to understand how the ASCE arrived at a C+ grade for the nation’s bridges.

And this Blue State?

Pittsburgh, Pa. leads the nation in terms of the largest number of structurally deficient bridges, a report by Transportation for America found.

In fact, those engineers found that 9 out of the top 10 metro areas with over 2 million people with crumbling bridges and roads are in fact run by Democrats.

1. Pittsburgh PA
2. San Francisco CA
3. Philadelphia PA
4. Sacramento CA
5. Riverside CA
6. Kansas City MO (Mayor there is an Independent, Sly James)
7. Boston MA
8. Detroit MI
9. Cleveland OH
10. New York NY

So you see, Led, it’s the Democrats who have neglected those crumbling bridges and roads. Whine to them about it and get them fixed! You broke them, you fix them.

F-

Del Dolemonte on August 6, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Looking at the chart, with the airline show down in Ukraine, 33% of people are either satisfied with our level of involvement or think we’re too involved, vs 30% that want to be more involved. For the conflict in Ukraine in general, 38% are satisfied or think we are too involved vs 28% that think we should be more involved. With the civil war in Syria it’s 34% vs 21 percent. With Israel and Hamas, it’s 34% vs 28% whether to get more involved. With ISIS, you finally have it go the other way in that 30% think we need to be more involved vs 26% that think what we’re doing is fine or we’re too involved as it is. That still means less than 1/3rd of Americans want to be more involved. And the other “foreign” issue is people crossing the border into our country. And that’s the only one where a large plurality want us to be more involved.

From this data you’ve determined that Americans are unable with our disengagement with the world. Might want to check that again.

sandbun on August 6, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Looking at the chart, with the airline show down in Ukraine, 33% of people are either satisfied with our level of involvement or think we’re too involved, vs 30% that want to be more involved. For the conflict in Ukraine in general, 38% are satisfied or think we are too involved vs 28% that think we should be more involved. With the civil war in Syria it’s 34% vs 21 percent. With Israel and Hamas, it’s 34% vs 28% whether to get more involved. With ISIS, you finally have it go the other way in that 30% think we need to be more involved vs 26% that think what we’re doing is fine or we’re too involved as it is. That still means less than 1/3rd of Americans want to be more involved. And the other “foreign” issue is people crossing the border into our country. And that’s the only one where a large plurality want us to be more involved.

From this data you’ve determined that Americans are unhappy with our disengagement with the world. Might want to check that again.

sandbun on August 6, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Del Dolemonte on August 6, 2014 at 12:17 PM

I see from that list that metro areas from CA account for 30% of the list.

Oh the irony here in CA where Governor Moonbeam is still insisting on spending $70B to $100B on a high speed rail project that isn’t getting any more federal funding and has such a bad business plan that there are zero private investors partnering with the state.

This is also a state that has been encouraging drivers to adopt far more fuel efficient vehicles as well as electric vehicles – but now has liberals in the State legislature pushing to increase the gasoline tax because receipts are down from the current gasoline tax because of fuel economy and electric vehicles.

We’re being told that the high speed rail and higher gas taxes are needed because the state infrastructure, one of the top 5 in the nation when Moonbeam first became Governor, is massively outmoded and in ill-repair.

The bottom line here is that the Democrats don’t really want to fix the problems. They create ‘crisis that can’t be allowed to go to waste’ to advance other progressive agenda items to increase government power, decimate the middle class, and payback the corrupt unions who really run CA.

Athos on August 6, 2014 at 12:26 PM

We’re being told that the high speed rail and higher gas taxes are needed because the state infrastructure, one of the top 5 in the nation when Moonbeam first became Governor, is massively outmoded and in ill-repair.

The bottom line here is that the Democrats don’t really want to fix the problems. They create ‘crisis that can’t be allowed to go to waste’ to advance other progressive agenda items to increase government power, decimate the middle class, and payback the corrupt unions who really run CA.

Athos on August 6, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Of course they don’t want to fix them.

Another study:

New Jersey was on a dubious list of seven states where more than 10 percent of urban interstates were considered to be in poor condition, and joined only California, Alaska and New York as states that had more than 5 percent of rural interstates in poor condition, according to the study.

And don’t forget the Blue State O’bama claims to have been born in!

Ben Prock, Hawaii area manager for Kiewit Infrastructure West Co., says there are numerous examples of aging infrastructure throughout the state.

“Hawaii’s roads and highways are in need of attention, with many of Hawaii’s bridges structurally deficient and not up to current safety standards.”

-snip-

Darrell Goo, senior vice president of construction for Grace Pacific Corporation, offers his take on the issue: “I think the aging infrastructure scenario can be associated with any area of growth in the United States. Although the main focus of growth in the state has been on the island of Oahu, we are starting to see an increase on Maui and the Big Island while on Kauai the growth has been limited, and on Molokai and Lanai it has been stagnant”

Del Dolemonte on August 6, 2014 at 12:44 PM

This study proposes the same garbage binary fallacy that all Libs point to when it comes to intervention. For these simpletons, they can only conceive of all-or-nothing. Disrupting Iran’s nuclear program, to them, involves an occupation like Iraq. Opposition to Russia means nukes flying. Etc, etc.

The truth is, there are plenty of shades of grey. Iranian facilities can be destroyed without an invasion. Russia can be checked with a missile shield which we had before Barry and Hillary sat their fat asses on that reset button.

TarasBulbous on August 6, 2014 at 12:46 PM

I would say we do not. But I would rather we not give money to Hamas, Taliban, Syrian rebels or any radical muslim group.

jake49 on August 6, 2014 at 12:48 PM

While Americans may have welcomed the dual policies of disengagement and retrenchment, they sure don’t seem to like the results of those policies. Another NBC News/WSJ poll released on Tuesday indicates that Americans are not happy with the level of disengagement displayed by the American government in the face of a number of pressing threats to global security.

Here’s the problem with your analysis, Noah. Other than the border issue (which is not a legitimate one for disengagement and retrenchment because it directly affects the US), none of the other issues directly affect the US.

And when you add together for the other issues (other than ISIS which is a statistical tie) the people who are satisfied and those who are disatisfied because the US is doing too much, they beat the number of people who are disatisfied because the US is doing too little.

Looks like the US does approve disengagement and retrenchment.

jim56 on August 6, 2014 at 1:25 PM

jimbo56 on August 6, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Sorry I’m late. Here are your breakaway goalposts!

Del Dolemonte on August 6, 2014 at 1:44 PM

jimbo56 on August 6, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Sorry I’m late. Here are your breakaway goalposts!

Del Dolemonte on August 6, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Noah again proves he was a journalism/poly sci major in college. Can’t add, can’t understand numbers, can’t begin to critically think about what he’s writing, etc.

jim56 on August 6, 2014 at 2:57 PM

I don’t think Americans want isolationism, and I think they still want the US to be the greatest military power on earth. That is still a great message politically. However, that does not mean they want the U.S. military to save the world, they want the U.S. military to save America and to help a few trusted allies.

The hawk position however has become intertwined with interventionism and nation building. Thus it turned the hawkish position from simply protecting America, our core interests, and those critical allies, into a holy crusade to establish democracy and peace throughout the planet.

That is utopian nonsense, just as utopian as ending poverty, alcoholism, drug use, murder, etc. The most glaring example is how both Bush and Obama have championed democracy in the Islamic world without realizing the consequences of that form of government in a majority muslim country. This ended up hurting America strategically by allowing Russia and China to take advantage of America being distracted with the Middle East.

Look at how Russia and China has taken advantage of US power since 9-11. Look at how we have allowed South America and Central America to become a base of operation to be used against us. This is our own hemisphere and yet we have Venezuela, Panama, and Cuba getting close to China and Russia. Is that what we want and is that good for American national security? I say no, but we can’t deal with that if we are going to be constantly distracted by every outburst of violence in the Middle East.

No matter what any Muslim country or fanatical jihadist group does their military might is nothing in comparison to Russia and China. We need to get back to focusing on the biggest foes, not that we should ignore Islamist groups/states like IS, but we must think strategically about it before acting. Every nation, including our own, is limited in what it can and what it cannot do. We cannot expend massive direct resources trying to fix parts of the world at the expense of more critical areas of concern.

For example, why not limit the growth of Islamist groups by arming non-muslims and promoting new nations in the Islamic world that would give non-Muslims a country of their own. What about a Christian Arab state in part of what today is Lebanon and Syria? Or arm Ethiopia and Southern Sudan, who are both majority Christian, to protect and even expand their territory? Or dump Pakistan, who have betrayed us so many times, for good and fully support India with weapons in their war in Kashmir with Pakistan. Obviously support Israel, and support secular military governments in places like Egypt if they are willing to play ball, considering now they have a common enemy with us. Most important of all…stop aiding wealthy oil Islamic states like UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc., who instead use their money to support Islamic jihad against non-muslims around the world, including the U.S.

So much we can do to contain the Islamic threat, without expending massive resources to do it, yet some just cannot stop their need for direct US military intervention on a massive scale to create Muslim democracies despite it failing in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, and Gaza….remember Hamas was elected to power….this is who the people there wanted leading them.

So how the heck are you going to “free” Gaza…they will just re-elect Hamas or some group like Hamas. This is a “people’s war”…not one of bad and despotic governments run by a few bad apples.

William Eaton on August 6, 2014 at 3:21 PM

It’s not the disengagement, it’s the total lack of leadership from this White House on anything but campaigning.

LifeTrek on August 6, 2014 at 3:55 PM

Del Dolemonte on August 6, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Noah again proves he was a journalism/poly sci major in college. Can’t add, can’t understand numbers, can’t begin to critically think about what he’s writing, etc.

jimbo56 on August 6, 2014 at 2:57 PM

But unlike yourself, he doesn’t ignore reality when it’s thrown in his face. Please tell us again about that nonexistent Hamas Combat manual!

From the Hamas Combat Manual.

Del Dolemonte on August 6, 2014 at 4:41 PM

Noah again proves he was a journalism/poly sci major in college. Can’t add, can’t understand numbers, can’t begin to critically think about what he’s writing, etc.

Jimbo3 on August 6, 2014 at 2:57 PM

At least he isn’t a lying coward and cheat like you.

The hyphen is just to set off what I’m responding to. People in the past have said there wasn’t enough difference between the two, so I’ve tried to do better.

Jimbo3 on June 11, 2010 at 5:28 PM

http://hotair.com/archives/2010/06/10/mitch-daniels-we-need-a-truce-on-social-issues-to-concentrate-on-our-fiscal-crisis/comment-page-4/#comment-3627532

–Links of calls to boycott United Airlines because of the personal actions of its CEO. You are wrong, Press1foEngrish.

jim56 on April 3, 2014 at 5:59 PM

http://hotair.com/archives/2014/04/03/mozilla-ceo-resigns-after-uproar-over-his-opposition-to-gay-marriage/comment-page-3/#comment-7896086

Bmore on August 6, 2014 at 4:51 PM

Most media and political elite believe Americans are happy to let the world can sort out it affairs for now.

Noah, what the heII does this sentence even mean?

Bmore on August 6, 2014 at 4:53 PM

At least he isn’t a lying coward and cheat like you.

The hyphen is just to set off what I’m responding to. People in the past have said there wasn’t enough difference between the two, so I’ve tried to do better.

Jimbo3 on June 11, 2010 at 5:28 PM

http://hotair.com/archives/2010/06/10/mitch-daniels-we-need-a-truce-on-social-issues-to-concentrate-on-our-fiscal-crisis/comment-page-4/#comment-3627532

–Links of calls to boycott United Airlines because of the personal actions of its CEO. You are wrong, Press1foEngrish.

jim56 on April 3, 2014 at 5:59 PM

http://hotair.com/archives/2014/04/03/mozilla-ceo-resigns-after-uproar-over-his-opposition-to-gay-marriage/comment-page-3/#comment-7896086

Bmore on August 6, 2014 at 4:51 PM

Ooh, someone uses a hyphen 4 years after a comment and you think there’s a connection.

Are the government agents in the black planes trying to steal your thoughts, too, or does the tin foil hat you wear prevent that?

jim56 on August 6, 2014 at 5:29 PM

But unlike yourself, he doesn’t ignore reality when it’s thrown in his face. Please tell us again about that nonexistent Hamas Combat manual!

From the Hamas Combat Manual.
Del Dolemonte on August 6, 2014 at 4:41 PM

Where did I say it was non-existent? Link please.

jim56 on August 6, 2014 at 5:29 PM