Americans like democracy at home, but a recent survey suggests that our feelings toward the philosophy abroad are more nuanced. According to a new survey conducted by Foreign Affairs magazine and non-profit Public Agenda as part of the Public Agenda Confidence in Foreign Policy Index, democracy in other nations of the world is not as important as other goals. For example, 71 percent of respondents called foreign natural disaster relief a “very important” goal, while only 20 percent of those surveyed said promoting democracy in other countries is very important. A plurality of respondents also called the Iraq war the most important problem facing the US in its dealings abroad, with more than one in five mentioning Iraq when asked what the leading foreign policy problem was. The public is more sympathetic on US action in Afghanistan, with 61 percent of those surveyed saying they believe the US government was truthful about reasons for invading the country. On the other hand, 50 percent of those surveyed said they don’t think the government was truthful regarding the Iraqi invasion.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.