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ZGram - 10/14/2004 - "Jim Lobe: Poll Finds a Nation Chastened by War:

zgrams at zgrams.zundelsite.org
Mon Oct 11 04:39:17 EDT 2004

ZGrams - Where Truth is Destiny:  Now more than ever!

October 14, 2004

Good Morning from the Zundelsite:

Another informative antiwar.com article by one of the keenest reporters:



September 29, 2004

Poll Finds a Nation Chastened by War

by Jim Lobe
Three years of the Bush administration's "war on terrorism" appears 
to have reduced the appetite of the U.S. public and its leaders for 
unilateral military engagements, according to a major survey released 
Tuesday by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations (CCFR).

Indeed, the survey, the latest in a quadrennial series going back to 
1974, found that key national-security principles enunciated by 
President George W. Bush since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York 
and the Pentagon are opposed by strong majorities of both the public 
and the elite.

While supporting the idea that Washington should take an active role 
in world affairs, more than three of every four members of the public 
reject the notion that the United States "has the responsibility to 
play the role of world policeman" and four of every five say 
Washington is currently playing that role "more than it should be."

In addition, overwhelming majorities of both the public and the elite 
said that the most important lesson of 9/11 is that the nation needs 
to "work more closely with other countries to fight terrorism" as 
opposed to "act more on its own."

Similar majorities of both the public and leaders rejected Bush's 
notion of preemptive war. Only 17 percent of the public and 10 
percent of leaders said that war was justifiable if the "other 
country is acquiring weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that could be 
used against them at some point in the future."

Fifty-three percent of the public and 61 percent of leaders said that 
war would be justified only if there is "strong evidence" the country 
is in "imminent danger" of attack. For about 25 percent of both the 
public and the leaders, war would be justified only if the other 
country attacks first.

The CCFR survey, which because of its rich detail and consistency 
over the past 30 years is generally taken more seriously than others 
that are conducted more sporadically, queried nearly 1,200 randomly 
selected members of the public during the second week of July.

A second survey of 450 "leaders with foreign policy power, 
specialization, and expertise" - including U.S. lawmakers or their 
senior staff, university faculty, journalists, senior administration 
officials, religious leaders, business and labor executives, and 
heads of major foreign policy organizations or interest groups - 
posed the same questions to determine where there may be gaps between 
the views of the elite and the public at large.

The last CCFR survey was taken in 2002, and normally the next one 
would not be held until 2006. But the council decided to commission 
one for 2004, in part due to "the significant role foreign policy 
issues are playing in American political life and the 2004 
presidential election," according to Marshall Bouton, CCFR's 

The council also collaborated with similar efforts by partner 
organizations in Mexico and South Korea, the conclusions of which 
will be released in the coming days.

While terrorism and other security threats still loom large in the 
public's mind, according to this year's survey, "there is a lowered 
sense of threat overall compared to 2002," when foreign policy 
concerns, particularly terrorism, topped the list of foreign-policy 
issues that most concerned the public.

"Protecting American jobs" was the most frequently cited goal of 
foreign policy in the 2004 poll (78 percent called it a "very 
important" goal), followed by preventing the spread of nuclear 
weapons (73 percent), and combating international terrorism (71 

For the elite respondents, on the other hand, nuclear 
non-proliferation and terrorism topped the list, while protecting 
U.S. jobs ranked eighth out of 14 options.

As for "critical threats," three out of four public respondents chose 
international terrorism, but that was down 10 points from two years 
ago. Two of three chose WMD, but that was also down by about 17 
points from 2002, and virtually all other threats cited in the survey 
declined substantially.

Thus, "Islamic fundamentalism," which was considered a "critical 
threat" by 61 percent of the public in 2002, was cited by only 38 
percent this year, while the "development of China as a world power," 
cited by 51 percent in 2002, claimed only 33 percent in 2004.

While, for the public, foreign policy issues virtually across the 
board were seen as less important than in 2002, that was not true for 
the foreign-policy elite, which rated "combating world hunger," 
securing energy supplies, improving the global environment, and, most 
striking, improving the standard of living of less developed nations, 
significantly higher than two years ago.

In addition, 40 percent of the elite now consider "strengthening the 
United Nations" as a "very important goal" of U.S. foreign policy, up 
12 percent from 2002. Conversely, the percentage of leaders who cited 
"maintaining superior power worldwide" as a very important goal, fell 
from 52 percent in 2002 to only 37 percent in 2004, the first time it 
has received less than majority support since the question was first 
asked in 1994.

A more chastened approach to foreign policy also showed up in 
declining support on the part of both the public and the elite for 
maintaining military bases abroad, particularly in hot spots like the 
Middle East and states linked to terrorist activities.

More than two-thirds of both the public and the leaders agreed the 
United States should withdraw from Iraq if a clear majority of Iraqi 
people want it to do so. As to whether Washington should remove its 
military presence from the Middle East if a majority of people there 
desire it, 59 percent of the public said yes, but only 35 percent of 
the elite agreed.

A majority of the public said Washington should not press Arab states 
to become more democratic; two-thirds said they opposed a 
Marshall-type Plan of economic aid and development for the region.

Large majorities of the public and the elite favor retaining 
traditional constraints on the use of force by individual states, 
including the United States, and oppose new ideas for making them 
looser, as often proposed by the Bush administration. At the same 
time, they favor giving wide-ranging powers to states acting 
collectively through the United Nations.

Thus, majorities of both the public and leaders oppose states taking 
unilateral action to prevent other states from acquiring WMD, but 
support such action if the UN Security Council approves. In the 
specific case of North Korea, for example, two-thirds of respondents 
said it should be necessary for Washington to get the council's 
approval before taking military action.

A majority of the public opposes the United States or any other 
nation having veto power on the Security Council.

The survey also found strong support for U.S. participation in a wide 
range of international treaties and agreements, some of which have 
been rejected or renounced by the Bush administration.

Thus 87 percent of the public and 85 percent of the elite said they 
would favor the terms of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; 
80 percent of both groups said they favored the landmine ban; 76 
percent of the public and 70 percent of the elite said they support 
U.S. participation in the International Criminal Court; and 71 
percent of both groups said they back U.S. participation in the Kyoto 
Protocol to reduce global warming.

Two-thirds of the public and three-quarters of the elite agreed that, 
in dealing with international problems, Washington should be more 
willing to make decisions within the UN, even if this means that its 
views will not prevail.

Asked what specific steps should be taken for strengthening the world 
body, three-quarters of the public and two-thirds of leaders said the 
UN should have a standing peacekeeping force.

A majority of 57 percent of the public and a plurality of 48 percent 
of the elite said the United States should make a general commitment 
to abide by World Court decisions rather than decide on a 
case-by-case basis.

(Inter Press Service)


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