James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

Lindsay analyzes the politics shaping U.S. foreign policy and the sustainability of American power.

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Showing posts for "Public Opinion"

Are Americans Embracing Isolationism? Not When It Comes to Airstrikes on ISIS

by James M. Lindsay
Iraq Air Strike Public Opinion An F/A-18C Hornet approaches the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier in the Arabian Gulf on August 12. (Hamad I Mohammed/Courtesy Reuters)

Do Americans Like President Obama’s Handling of Foreign Policy?

by James M. Lindsay
President Barack Obama speaks at a Democratic Party fundraiser in San Francisco. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters) President Barack Obama speaks at a Democratic Party fundraiser in San Francisco. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters)

The Pew Research-CFR poll released yesterday found that the American public’s skepticism about foreign policy activism has hit record levels. That skepticism is good news for President Obama given his reluctance to put U.S. prestige and resources on the line in messy disputes like Syria. The public isn’t itching to intervene overseas, and neither is the president. Read more »

Is America’s Global Influence in Decline?

by James M. Lindsay

Earlier this week, I did an interview for the show Digital Age with host Jim Zirin. The topic was “Is America’s global influence in decline?” I don’t know that I actually answered Jim’s question, but over the course of our conversation we discussed the partial government slowdown, the Snowden affair, the possible balkanization of the Internet, President Obama’s sagging approval ratings, Congress’s reluctance to endorse military action against Syria, the limits of military force, Iran’s nuclear intentions, and Egypt’s future, among other topics. Read more »

Americans Like Putin’s Plan, Not Putin

by James M. Lindsay
Russian president Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on arms and military equipment (Michael Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Courtesy Reuters). Russian president Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on arms and military equipment (Michael Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Courtesy Reuters).

Gallup is out with one of the more interesting polls I have seen recently. The poll asked Americans whether or not they approved of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s plan to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. By a four-to-one margin (72 to 18 percent), they give it a thumbs-up. Read more »

Should the United States Mind Its Own Business Internationally?

by James M. Lindsay
Syrian-American demonstrators protest in front of the White House (Jim Bourg/Courtesy Reuters). Syrian-American demonstrators protest in front of the White House (Jim Bourg/Courtesy Reuters).

Separate polls out today by the New York Times/CBS News and the Wall Street Journal/NBC News show considerable public opposition to President Obama’s call for military strikes against Syria.  Both polls show something else as well: Americans doubt the wisdom of U.S. activism overseas more broadly. Read more »

Can President Obama Persuade Americans to Support His Syria Policy?

by James M. Lindsay
President Barack Obama during the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters). President Barack Obama during the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters).

President Obama hopes to use his nationwide address tonight to persuade Americans of the necessity to punish Syria for using chemical weapons. But two polls out this morning suggest that it is a daunting task, and not one he is likely to accomplish. Read more »

Americans Still Doubt the Need for Military Strikes Against Syria

by James M. Lindsay
A protester holds up a sign against U.S. action in Syria as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Martin E. Dempsey, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Joshua Roberts/Courtesy Reuters). A protester holds up a sign against U.S. action in Syria as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Martin E. Dempsey, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Joshua Roberts/Courtesy Reuters).

Gallup is out with a new poll on what Americans think about military strikes against Syria.  Unlike the Pew Research Center and Washington Post/ABC News polls released on Tuesday, Gallup started questioning Americans after President Obama announced on Saturday that he was asking Congress to approve military action. But like the Pew and Post/ABC polls, Gallup found that far more Americans (51 percent) oppose military strikes than support them (36 percent). Read more »

Americans Doubt the Need for Military Strikes Against Syria

by James M. Lindsay
Opponents of U.S.-led intervention in Syria rally outside the White House (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters). Opponents of U.S.-led intervention in Syria rally outside the White House (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters).

Sometimes polls tell you what you already know. That’s the case with the polls that the Pew Research Center and the Washington Post and ABC News just released on Syria. Pew found that Americans oppose conducting military strikes against Syria by a margin of 48 percent to 29 percent. By a virtually identical margin (48 percent to 32 percent) they believe that President Obama has not explained clearly why the United States should attack Syria. Meanwhile, the Washington Post-ABC News poll found that Americans opposed military strikes by a margin of 59 percent to 36 percent. Read more »

Obama Asks Congress to Vote on Syria

by James M. Lindsay
President Barack Obama makes remarks on the situation in Syria at the Rose Garden of the White House (Mike Theiler/Courtesy Reuters). President Barack Obama makes remarks on the situation in Syria at the Rose Garden of the White House (Mike Theiler/Courtesy Reuters).

President Obama’s announcement that he is asking Congress to authorize the use of military force against Syria comes as welcome news to proponents of the view that presidents cannot unilaterally initiate the use of military force. Although Obama endorsed that view back in 2007 before he became president, he pointedly declined to ask Congress to authorize U.S. military action against Libya in 2011. Read more »