Americans worry that we have lost our common ground—interests or opinions that cut across diverse cultural, religious, and political lines. Yet Americans do have common ground when it comes to shared values, as I document in my about-to-be released book, United America.
This week, we’re examining areas that show signs of becoming common ground in the future, based on some historic milestones in public opinion. America’s foreign policy is one such area.
Today’s question: Should MYOB—Mind Your Own Business—be our guiding principle?
For the first time ever, a majority of Americans (52%) now agree that “the U.S. should mind its own business internationally and get along the best they can on their own,” according to a Pew Research Center poll late last year. Way back in 1964, when Pew first started asking this question, only 20% agreed with it.
A whopping 70% of Americans now say that the U.S. is losing respect around the globe. That’s nearly as high as the peak in May 2008, when 71% of Americans felt that the nation was losing respect internationally.
Also for the first time, a majority of Americans (53%) agree that the U.S. plays a less powerful and important role than the country did a decade ago. Only 17% of Americans now say that the U.S. plays a more important and powerful role as a world leader than it did 10 years ago.
Does all this translate into an isolationist policy?
Not exactly, say Pew analysts. The same survey also finds strong support for America’s involvement in the global economy. Two-thirds (66%) of Americans say that more involvement in the global economy is a “good thing because it exposes the U.S. to new markets and opportunities for growth.” Only 25% say that more involvement in the global economy is “bad because it exposes the U.S. to risk and uncertainty.” There are virtually no partisan differences in these opinions about involvement in the world’s economy.
Are you surprised to learn that foreign policy might become an area of common ground?
Should MYOB be America’s foreign policy?
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