Survey Shows Americans Prefer Engagement to Unilateralism

For years, American foreign policy strategists have articulated the importance of constructively engaging our allies around the world. According to a fascinating new study, this could be good politics as well.

In The Hill, pollster Mark Mellman reveals details of a new survey which shows that Americans, by a wide margin, prefer multilateral approaches to the most daunting foreign policy challenges facing the United States. The numbers are striking. According to Mellman, only 31% of those surveyed share a commitment to unilateralism, whereas “nearly twice as many (60%) prefer to ‘work through the U.N…'” The same internationalist impulses run deep when it comes to confronting terrorism. Says Mellman, “just 25% accept … the view that it is more important ‘for the U.S. to decide on its own whether and how to hit terrorists and the countries that support them.’ Sixty-eight percent put the priority on having other nations ‘respect us and want to work with us in the war on terror.'” (emphasis mine)

Mellman’s survey is one of many studies over the years which have consistently shown that a preference for isolationism or unilateralism commonly associated with the American populace is more myth than reality. Further, Mellman confirms what internationalist foreign policy advocates have been saying for years: a constructive, engaging foreign policy that earns the United States respect in the world is good politics as well.