Foreign Policy

“Isolationist Sentiment Surges to Four-Decade High”

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That's the subhed on this new Pew Research Center poll. From the summary:

Stop reading this alt text and go do a Google Image search on "isolationism"

In the midst of two wars abroad and a sour economy at home, there has been a sharp rise in isolationist sentiment among the public. For the first time in more than 40 years of polling, a plurality (49%) says the United States should "mind its own business internationally" and let other countries get along the best they can on their own. […]

Four years ago, 42% agreed that the U.S. should "mind its own business" in international affairs; in December 2002, just 30% agreed with this statement.

At the same time, there has been a rise in unilateralist sentiment. Fully 44% say that because the United States "is the most powerful nation in the world, we should go our own way in international matters, not worrying about whether other countries agree with us or not." That is by far the highest percentage agreeing since the question was first asked by Gallup in 1964.

Link via George Stephanopoulus' Twitter feed.

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75 responses to ““Isolationist Sentiment Surges to Four-Decade High”

  1. GET OFF MY LAWN!!

  2. What if you think that since the US is the most powerful nation in the wold, we should go our own way in international matters, not worrying about whether other countries agree with us ignoring them or not?

    1. Is that meant as an insult? The U.S. is the most powerful nation in the world, not merely in some elevated tract of open country. Sheesh.

  3. Since when did “minding your own business” mean isolationist?

    Free trade with all, entangling alliances with none isnt isolationist.

    1. Not pointlessly invading and occupying sovereign nations who have not and could not attack us if they wanted to is being an isolationist. Since I have not ransacked my neighbor’s house and raped his wife (which I certainly should have done preemptively or, as Hillary said, “preventatively”) I too am an isolationist.

  4. Why do we get these isolationistical tendencies when it is our own government that has us so screwed up? It isn’t the rest of the world we need to divorce. It’s all those farkin yahoos in D.C.

    1. as opposed to the yahoos in other countries? Everyone should look to their own interests

  5. Wouldn’t a picture of Pat Buchanan qualify as an image of isolationist?

    1. how about a picture of your mother…naked?

      1. Common as pennies.

        1. My naked mom no longer looks like Abrahm Lincoln since the chemotherapy made the beard fall out.

  6. I would be curious to see if the rise of isolationism has been acompanied by a rise in protectionism. Those two usually go hand and hand.

    1. Only in parts of the left, I think. These days the average American owns cars and electronics made in Japan, China, Korea, etc., and is less likely to think “Buy American” is a good idea (or even possible) compared to decades ago.

  7. Hey, maybe two stupid fucking wars that have lasted for, oh, 5-6 years have had an effect on the public too.

  8. I wonder if the Pax Americana would operate more smoothly if we issued some sort of guidelines. You know, we’ll lay the hell off if certain rules are adhered to (e.g., no use of nukes, no nukes if you ain’t got ’em, no invading certain countries, no attacking the U.S. or its citizens, etc.).

    I mean, it’s pretty hard to put the genie back in the bottle, so we could at least try for some consistency in our world rule.

    1. We have decided to just stay home and mind our own business, but remember, WE HAVE BUTTONS, BITCHES!

  9. Holy fuck: http://orpheus.ucsd.edu/specco…..onism.html

    I never knew…!

    1. Pretty easy to see where Dr. Suess got his drawing inspiration.

      1. If you look at the artist’s signature, it was the good Dr. Seuss

        1. So it is! Find a job yet?

          1. Your use of the word ‘find” makes the presumption that I am looking.

  10. Some what relative to isolationists, an interesting article on Mises, the mathematics bash is what drew me to it. (hallelujah someone else said it!)

    http://mises.org/daily/3895

  11. I for one am tired of paying for the defense of Europussies.

    It’s bad enough we heavily subsidize their health care.

    Out of NATO and Europe now.

  12. Fully 44% say that because the United States “is the most powerful nation in the world, we should go our own way in international matters, not worrying about whether other countries agree with us or not.”

    When will we see this?
    Fully 46% say that because President Obama “is the most powerful person in the world, he should go his own way, not worrying about whether others agree with him or not.”

    1. That is completely stupid. Obama is subject to the restraints of the Constitution. Sovereign powers are not.

      1. Isn’t the United States subject to the constitution? In theory?

        1. No, the United States isn’t subject to anything. The United States Government is subject to the Constitution. Nothing prevents the country from changing that Constitution if it wanted to. And nothing in the Constitution prevents the US from getting entagled in world affairs.

  13. Was there really a time when newspaper readers were expected to recognize “Laocoon?” I doubt most newspaper writers would recognize it now.

    1. He sounded familiar but I had to google him. Oh yeah, that guy.

    2. I hadn’t seen that thing since Art History my freshman year of college.

      1. My ignorant butt was clueless till I googled the word Laocoon. If I ever had encountered it in the past, it wasn’t available in my memory.

      2. I think that puts you ahead of at least 80% of the public.

  14. George Stephanopoulus’ Twitter feed.

    What a magical-sounding place!

  15. Obviously there are no easy answers to the problems created by groups such as Al-Qaeda, and the smoking craters in Manhattan, DC, and Pennsylvania are proof that they are indeed a problem. The solution we are currently working on is an effort to deny them assistance from other political entities like Saddam and the Taliban. Some might argue we should do the same with the Mullahs in Iran and the Saudi royalty themselves.

    But the fact is isolationism is no longer an option in todays world where information flies from one of the earth to the other at the speed of sound, and most nations are inextricably intertwined economically. It is simply not possible to take our ball and go home.

    And I have to ask to those who criticize our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, what other options were available after 9/11 that we should have taken instead?

    1. 1. Do not create a super-mega sized bureaucracy.

      2. Do not enhance the garrison state any further.

      3. Do not enact a Patriot Act.

      4. Ruthlessly cut the defense budget.

      5. Terminate our funding of NATO, the UN, and the “protection” of the Asian rim.

      Continue to understand that trading with all while shedding empire does not equal isolationism.

      1. I’ll agree with all of them but #4. The defense budget can no doubt be trimmed, but maintaining a strong military does more than just project strength. There are several aspects to military spending that enhance not just our protection but also our technology edge and our economy itself. The internet itself is partially a by product of defense spending.

        1. The simultaneous desire for a small government and a large military is contradictory.

          The military is a money pit like any other government endeavor. A small, ruthlessly armed and trained military could both defend our borders and rain down hell-fire on on any foreign powers that attacked us. A large standing army is not only unconstitutional, but also a temptation for meddling with the rest of the world.

          “An used weapon is a unless weapon.” Don’t make the weapon.

          The only thing a small, elite military wouldn’t be good for is nation-building and peace-keeping. Things we should not be doing anyway.

          1. “unused” [sigh]

            1. “An unused weapon is a useless weapon.”

              Stupid fingers.

          2. A small, ruthlessly armed and trained military could both defend our borders and rain down hell-fire on on any foreign powers that attacked us.

            If you’re talking conventional, non-nuclear arms only, I have serious doubts that a small military could defeat a country like China in a real war.

            In World War II, it took about 16 million men and women for us to win, and that was with allies like the Soviet Union and China who did the overwhelming brunt of the fighting and dying.

            1. Were the 16 million milling around in a large standing army for decades before WWII?

              And I’m fine with nuclear weapons. But I think, at this point, we don’t need missile silos dotting Montana and a cadre of missile subs. Keep some, of course, but focus on the war that is much more likely.

              If we got into a war with China, like China invades us not fucking with South Korea or some such Cold War nonsense, it wouldn’t be trench warfare any longer. If it somehow was, we could mobilize fast or nuke them.

              Any of government project of that size would be considered little more than a gigantic jobs program.

              1. Any “other”

                Why can’t we have a preview function?

            2. “”””I have serious doubts that a small military could defeat a country like China in a real war. “”””

              Do you expect China to invade the US anytime soon?

              The only way the US and China can have a conventional war is for us to go there or them to come here. And I don’t see either of those things happening or being in either countries interest.

          3. “The simultaneous desire for a small government and a large military is contradictory.”

            No, it’s not. It is contradictory only if you justify it by some grand principle.

            I like pears and I don’t like apples. Nothing contradictory about that.

            1. No, it’s “I love pears, but I hate pear trees.”

    2. Re: Tman,

      Obviously there are no easy answers to the problems created by groups such as Al-Qaeda, and the smoking craters in Manhattan, DC, and Pennsylvania are proof that they are indeed a problem.

      The US Gov could have heeded the advice of Ron Paul and offer a plentiful bounty for anybody who could bring Usama Bin Laden’s head on a silver plate. Even I would have done it for a cool Billion, but the US Gov offered instead a pittance and then said “See? The free market failed, so let’s enter that country with guns a-blazin’!”

      The solution we are currently working on is an effort to deny them assistance from other political entities like Saddam and the Taliban.

      There is no evidence at all that Saddam was helping Al-Qaeda nor was there evidence the Taliban was doing more than hosting Bin Laden.

      Some might argue we should do the same with the Mullahs in Iran and the Saudi royalty themselves.

      Let’s go after all Arabs, while we’re at it. They don’t deserve to live, anyway.

      But the fact is isolationism is no longer an option in todays world where information flies from one of the earth to the other at the speed of sound,

      It has worked for Switzerland, and they are jsut as well connected by phone and nets as the US. I don’t see how the fact the world is so well connected is relevant for MINDING YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS for a change.

      And I have to ask to those who criticize our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, what other options were available after 9/11 that we should have taken instead?

      The OTHER option was to do NOTHING except offer a ransom for Bin Laden’s head and leave the Iraqis alone. That would have given the US a better economic recovery and 9,000 men and women of the Armed Forces would still be alive to hold their children’s hands and kiss their wives or husbands.

      1. offer a plentiful bounty for anybody who could bring Usama Bin Laden’s head on a silver plate.

        Osama is not the only Islamic terrorist in the world. Killing Bin Laden would be nice but it wouldn’t resolve this issue in the least. I think he’s been dead for a while anyways.

        There is no evidence at all that Saddam was helping Al-Qaeda

        http://www.husseinandterror.com . Keep in mind that al-qaeda is not the only Islamic terrorist group that has sworn death to America. And Saddam was aiding, funding and protecting just about all of them. The way people ignore Saddams involvement in Islamic terrorism is practically criminal.

        Let’s go after all Arabs, while we’re at it. They don’t deserve to live, anyway.

        That’s a nice straw man.

        I don’t see how the fact the world is so well connected is relevant for MINDING YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS for a change.

        When a group that trains out of the hills of Afghanistan can bring the worlds largest super power to its knees both economically and security wise, it shows you how interconnected things are. We don’t have the option of MINDING OUR OWN FUCKING BUSINESS when what happens in Afghanistan has very much become OUR FUCKING BUSINESS.

        The OTHER option was to do NOTHING except offer a ransom for Bin Laden’s head and leave the Iraqis alone.

        So you are saying that after 3,000 Americans are murdered in cold blood we turn in to bounty hunters, kill one guy and call it a day? This is not a serious option.

        1. Re: Tman,

          Osama is not the only Islamic terrorist in the world. Killing Bin Laden would be nice but it wouldn’t resolve this issue in the least. I think he’s been dead for a while anyways.

          I don’t think you understood – killing Bin Laden by using a ransom would have created enough stress within the terrorists ranks since they would not know who could be bought and who could not. Instead, the US went head first into a fight that clearly, CLEARLY defined loyalties, making the problem WORSE, not better.

          Keep in mind that al-qaeda is not the only Islamic terrorist group that has sworn death to America. And Saddam was aiding, funding and protecting just about all of them.

          And here I thought the reason to invade Iraq was because Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction… NOW it is because he “funded” terrorists groups. Go figure what will be next…

          Excuse my cynicism, Tman, but I simply don’t buy it. By the time of the invasion, the Iraqi nation was dead broke – what was there left to fund?

          That’s a nice straw man.

          Why, thank you! It was, wasn’t it?

          So you are saying that after 3,000 Americans are murdered in cold blood we turn in to bounty hunters, kill one guy and call it a day? This is not a serious option.

          For me it IS a serious option. The other option sounds biblical (“If you kill one of my people, I will bring death to your people seven fold”)

          Actually it has been something like 10,000 fold, but who’s counting, right? They’re only Ay-rabs.

          1. killing Bin Laden by using a ransom would have created enough stress within the terrorists ranks since they would not know who could be bought and who could not.

            That’s laughable. Money wasn’t going to buy this problem away. The jihadists are excited about dying in the name of fighting the great satan. Money may have bought out some of their associates, but the ones willing to suicide-attack our buildings weren’t afraid of anything, nor would they be deterred if some of their friends turned on them. And by the way, we kinda do this already in Afghanistan and Iraq anyways, and sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t. Some of these scumbags just need to be eliminated, period.

            the US went head first into a fight that clearly, CLEARLY defined loyalties, making the problem WORSE, not better.

            How is defining our loyalties to people who reject Islamic fundamentalism a bad thing? You would prefer we remain neutral on the issue? Do you realize that whether we remain neutral or not the jihadists have already decided where our loyalties lie?

            And here I thought the reason to invade Iraq was because Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction… NOW it is because he “funded” terrorists groups. Go figure what will be next…

            Here are the exact reasons we went to war in Iraq- Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq. Notice the repeated reference to things like “Whereas Iraq both poses a continuing threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region…supporting and harboring terrorist organizations; to aid and harbor other international terrorist organizations, including organizations that threaten the lives and safety of American citizens; President and Congress are determined to continue to take all appropriate actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such persons or organizations;”

            I’ll admit that too much press ink was spilled about WMD’s when a clear case could be made that Saddam was due for -as PJ O’Rourke described it- a “Lifetime Achievement Award For Evil”, plus the fact that the jihadists from past and present terrorist attacks were KNOWN to be in Iraq, but the that doesn’t mean that these things weren’t true.

            For me it IS a serious option. The other option sounds biblical (“If you kill one of my people, I will bring death to your people seven fold”)

            Your option would’ve further emboldened not just al-qaeda but other terrorist groups who watched as the mighty infidel tried to buy its way out of their jihad. This doesn’t mean the only other option was kill all the arabs, which you continue to use as a straw man, but it certainly would’ve done nothing to deter further attacks.

            1. “””supporting and harboring terrorist organizations””

              Yes like MEK, the anti-Iranian terrorist organization which is now supported by the US government.

  16. In the midst of two wars abroad and a sour economy at home, there has been a sharp rise in isolationist sentiment among the public.

    For Statists of EVERY ilk (Progressives, Fascists and Socialists, all kindred spirits), the term “Isolationist” is always labeled to those that do not espouse imperialism and interventionism.

  17. Where by “isolationist” we mean people who want to buy other countries’ products, sell to other countries’ consumers, talk with other countries’ citizens, and peacefully visit other countries, but who for some reason don’t want to invade, occupy, manipulate or be manipulated by other countries.

    What awful, isolated people they must be.

  18. Will there ever be an end to pants-wetting pussies who claim to be “conservative” and “small government” but, well, gosh darn it, there’s lots of threats out there in this crazy world and we need a fucking huge military with massive defense spending to guard against that crazy world?

    Guess what, douchebags: that military, and the fucking CIA, and the fucking FBI, and all the other myriad law enforcement and spy and military agencies, failed to see 9/11 coming. But hey, with government, when you fuck up, you get more money!

    You’re so contradictory to your own supposed values that it would be funny if it weren’t so fucking pervasive.

    1. You’re so contradictory to your own supposed values that it would be funny if it weren’t so fucking pervasive.

      You said it, brother.If it weren’t for the fact that wingbats like Glenn Beck [who I like somewhat, I have to say, because he HAS exposed big-spending government] support Big Government when it comes to the military and other imperialistic agencies, he COULD be a libertarian. Instead, for me at least, he only pays lip service to Libertarianism.

    2. We actually did see 9/11 coming, but not the specifics. Many folks involved in the military, CIA, FBI etc. were getting closer to unravelling the plot, but they were too late. People like Rick Rescorla, the World Trade Center security chief for the financial services firm Morgan Stanley, who anticipated both attacks on the towers and implemented evacuation procedures that are credited with saving many lives. He died in the attacks of September 11, 2001, while leading the evacuation efforts.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Rescorla

      He wasn’t alone either. And what continually gets ignored are the number of terrorist attacks before and since that the FBI, CIA and military intelligence have thwarted. Just because this one wasn’t doesn’t mean they have again.

      1. O Rly? Please list all the “thwarted” attacks. Are we talking about some idiots in Jersey who thought they were going to blow up airplane fuel? Or the entrapment shit they’ve been pulling?

        1. Here are a few that made the news because of their visibility.

          http://www.heritage.org/Resear…..bg2085.cfm

          Many others will never make the news for a very good reason, that being we don’t want the enemy to know we’re on to them.

          But I find it hilarious that on one hand youy chastise them for not doing enough to stop 9/11, and then on the other seem to believe we should scrap the whole thing as if this would make us any safer.

          1. Tman,

            I don’t think I’ve seen you here before, but it sure is nice to see an adult perspective every once in a while on important matters of war and peace.

            I take it you have a real life, with a home, and a wife and children and all that?

            Anyway, I do hope to see you posting here more often.

            1. Thanks Draco. Foreign police is the one issue where libertarians and I usually part ways. I just don’t believe that isolationism is a realistic nor feasible option in todays world. And that’s too bad, because other than that I am pretty much across the board libertarian and would support the party and the nominees with all the help I could. But this issue is way to important to pretend we can take our ball and go home, and I find it childish and naive that people actually think this is even possible.

    3. “””Will there ever be an end to pants-wetting pussies who claim to be “conservative” and “small government” but, well, gosh darn it, there’s lots of threats out there in this crazy world and we need a fucking huge military with massive defense spending to guard against that crazy world? “”

      They will even praise all the nation building projects such as building clinics and building chicken farms, which is nothing but socialism but somehow when the US military does it overseas then many who call themselves “conservative” and “small government” become the worse sort of liberal big government types

      They have even bought into the left wing rhetoric that poverty is what is driving this terrorism. Yet they ignore that the group which is most likely to become a terrorist are Saudis who are among the richest of the Muslims. Osama is the son of a rich man, his second in command is a doctor, the rest of the group don’t come from the very poor, they come from the working and middle class. But the “conservatives” jump in the left wing rhetoric that its poor people who are the terrorists and so they support all these left wing nation building projects.

  19. Beck is insane. And he is doing phenomenal damage to the already battered libertarian brand. Last night Colbert had some shitty writer on and the writer referred to Colbert’s faux-right-wing shtick as “libertarian”; I shit you not.

    Thank Jeebus I’m an anarcho-capitalist.

    1. If we got all of the crypto-conservatives calling themselves libertarians on this board, there’d only be about 20 of us left. And 6 of them would be the same leftard troll under different names.

      1. So I would be one in fourteen, then? I like THOSE odds.

  20. Well, we lost liberal. Now we’re going to lose libertarian. What’s next on the harder-to-say scale?

    1. freedomtarian
      selfownershiptarian
      notdemocratorrepublicantarian
      antiestablishmentofsocialismist
      smallgovernmentite

      1. Limitedgovernmentorwewillshootyouism?

        1. We are: Limitedgovernmentorwewillshootyouists,

          The Un-Party.

          Please eat, drink, snort, smoke, shoot(weapons&drugs;), and trade responsibly, thank you.

  21. Well, we lost liberal. Now we’re going to lose libertarian. What’s next on the harder-to-say scale?

    Anarcho-capitalist.

    1. Already under fire from the “can’t understand what the word anarchy means” dimwits.

      1. I guess there’s minarchist, but that’s a word that requires explanation. “No, it doesn’t mean Mini-Christ.”

  22. “…says the United States should “mind its own business internationally” and let other countries get along the best they can on their own. […]

    At the same time, there has been a rise in unilateralist sentiment. Fully 44% say that because the United States “is the most powerful nation in the world, we should go our own way in international matters, not worrying about whether other countries agree with us or not.” That is by far the highest percentage agreeing since the question was first asked by Gallup in 1964.”

    Agree with both those statements, for the most part.

    1. But hellfire on those who truly threaten us.

    2. I think agreement with the first statement may mark someone as a non-interventionist, not an “isolationist.” Most real libertarians (some would say ALL of them) fall in the non-interventionist category: “Engage vigorously with the world in commerce and cultural exchange, but mind our own business politically and militarily.”

      But the second statement, with its implication that we can do whatever we please without worrying about the effects on other nations or the opinions of their citizens and governments, IS isolationism: living arrogantly and heedlessly, as if our powerful status put us in a self-constructed bubble, apart from everyone else on Earth.

      Before I saw that the SECOND statement was so popular, I thought this this thread’s title (and the pollster conclusion that inspired it) were inaccurate. “Surely someone is once again labeling non-interventionism as isolation.” But, having read the context, it really DOES seem as if true, boneheaded isolationism is the topic. Please, let’s not go down THAT road. Becoming a true rogue nation would be the cherry on top of our political and economic implosion. Shades of Nazi Germany.

  23. hi,
    everybody, take your time and a little bit. addgsa

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