Presidential Debate: American Role in Global Affairs Has Changed, Says Report

Will Candidates Address America's New Position in Foreign Affairs?

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    (Photo: REUTERS/Jim Young)
    U.S. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama trade places to answer a question during the second U.S. presidential campaign debate in Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012.
By Myles Collier, Christian Post Contributor
October 22, 2012|4:55 pm

The third and final presidential debate is Monday and will focus entirely on foreign policy, but a new survey highlights the growing divide between American perspectives and those around the globe regarding American influence in foreign affairs.

The survey is part of the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project, which analyzed responses from around the globe with respect to perspectives of American intervention and promotion of democracy around the world.

One of the more striking changes over that past decade is the importance that Americans place on supporting democracy as a long-term goal of American foreign policy.

The survey showed that in 2001, 29 percent of respondents felt that promoting democracy was an important long-term foreign policy goal. However, in 2011 the percentage of Americans who held that view had diminished to only 13 percent.

Researchers attributed this in part to growing concerns regarding the growth of American jobs and an increase in the number of Americans who are interested in reducing American military commitments overseas. There was a 20 percent increase of Americans wanting a reduction of military commitment overseas; up to 46 percent from 26 percent in 2001.

This attitude may be furthered, given that a strong majority of Americans feel that countries helped by the United States end up resenting America.

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Nearly two-thirds of respondents – 64 percent- agreed that "most of the countries that have gotten help from America end up resenting us."

Researchers explained that specific sentiment has changed little over the past decade; however, they do address the growing partisan divide over perceptions of resentment attributed to countries receiving American aid.

Currently, 69 percent of Republicans and 68 percent of independents feel countries that are benefiting from American aid end up resenting America- this is true of only 56 percent of Democrats.

Feelings of American influence goes both ways, as countries who benefit from American aid have shown varying degrees of favorability towards the United States over the last decade.

Long-time ally Egypt has been at the center of the Arab Springs transition from dictators to democracy, but attitudes towards America have been in flux. When asked if the respondents had a favorable opinion of the United States, 19 percent said that they did. That was down from 30 percent in 2006.

Other countries in the region have also showed a change in favorable perceptions of the United States. In Turkey, 15 percent of respondents stated that they had a favorable view of the United States; that is down from 30 percent in 2002.

The same goes for Jordan, which had a favorable rating from 25 percent of respondents in 2002, but in 2012, only 12 percent of respondents held a favorable view of America.

 

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