WSJ/NBC Poll: "Anti-Interventionist Current ... Sweeps Across Party Lines"

By:  Warren Mass
WSJ/NBC Poll: "Anti-Interventionist Current ... Sweeps Across Party Lines"

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted from April 23-27 found that 47 percent of Americans believe that the United States should become less active in world affairs. Thirty percent think the United States should maintain its present level of activity and only 19 percent believe our nation should become more active.

When asked to rate President Obama’s foreign policy, 36 percent of those polled said Obama is “is too cautious and lets other countries control events,” 42 percent said “he takes a balanced approach depending on the situation,” and 15 percent said “he is too bold and forces issues with other countries.”

Significantly, when reporting the results of the poll, the Wall Street Journal, an influential news organ closely associated with America’s establishment, described the results of the poll as being indicative of “an anti-interventionist current that sweeps across party lines.” This is a marked departure from the pejorative term “isolationist” that those favoring an interventionist U.S. foreign policy have often used to brand non-interventionists such as 2008 and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.

In an interview with former Rep. Paul in December 2011, CNN correspondent Wolf Blitzer asked Paul: “Tell our viewers right now, once and for all, the difference between an isolationist and a non-interventionist.”

Paul replied:

An isolationist is a protectionist that builds walls around their country, they don’t like the trade, they don’t like to travel about the world, and they like to put sanctions on different countries. So some of the people who call me that, are actually much more in favor of sanctions and limited trade. They’re the ones who don’t want to trade with Cuba and they want to put sanctions on anybody who blinks their eye at them. And yet, the opposite is what we believe in....

So non-intervention is quite a bit different since what the Founders advised was to get along with people, trade with people, and to practice diplomacy, rather than having this militancy of telling people what to do and how to run the world and building walls around our own country. That is isolationism. It’s a far cry from what we believe in.

In the interview, when Blitzer asked Paul if he would “bring all the U.S. troops home, not just from Iraq and Afghanistan, but from Germany, Japan, South Korea, and everyplace else around the world,” the congressman said: “I want to bring them home, and I think we’ll be stronger for it; I think we’ll have a stronger national defense and we’ll have a lot stronger economy.”

In a news conference April 28 in the Philippines during his Asian tour, President Obama — despite his record of intervening militarily in Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, and elsewhere — sounded almost as if he had lifted a few talking points from one of Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign speeches. “Why is it that everybody is so eager to use military force after we’ve just gone through a decade of war at enormous costs to our troops and to our budget?” said Obama. “And what is it exactly that these critics think would have been accomplished?”

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