86% of U.S. voters: Deploy military abroad only as ‘last resort’

February 19, 2018

American voters are “largely skeptical of the practicality or benefits of military intervention overseas,” based on findings of a poll released by the Committeee for Responsible Foreign Policy last month.

Conducted on behalf of the bipartisan advocacy group by J. Wallin Opinion Research, the new poll revealed that the U.S. electorate objects to “both the physical involvement of the US military and also extending to military aid in the form of funds or equipment as well,” according to a report by The Nation.

Bill Dolbow, the spokesman for the Committee for a Responsible Foreign Policy, told the weekly progressive publication, “We started this initiative to give a voice to the people and the people have spoken—Congress needs to enact more oversight before intervening in conflict abroad.”

Top findings of the research show that, 86.4% of respondents believe that the American military should be used only as a last resort, while 57% believe that US military aid to foreign countries is counterproductive. The latter sentiment “increases significantly” when involving countries like Saudi Arabia, with 63.9% saying that military aid—including money and weapons—should not be provided to such countries.

Overall, 70.8% of respondents said that federal legislators should restrain military action overseas by requiring:

  • “Clearly defined goals to authorize military engagement” (78.8%);
  • Congress “to have both oversight and accountability regarding where troops are stationed” (77%; and
  • That “any donation of funds or equipment to a foreign country be matched by a pledge of that country to adhere to the rules of the Geneva Convention” (84.8 %).

The researchers at J. Wallin note that, even in spite of what they call a “climate of distinct political polarization,” the results show these sentiments vary “only in degrees of intensity across political party, ideology, age groups, gender, and geographic regions,” The Nation reported.

The poll found that 78% of Democrats, 64.5% of Republicans, and 68.8% of Independents supported restraining military action overseas.

The Nation warned, “Candidates from both parties running in this year’s midterm election ignore the results of the new survey at their peril.”

Research contact: info@responsibleforeignpolicy.org

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