06/01/2020 No. 156
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Nearly 70% of Americans Oppose a U.S. Military Intervention in the Taiwan - Strait War
By Donghui Yu
June 1, 2013

Source: http://www.chinareviewnews.com   2012-09-12 00:35:38 



The latest U.S. poll finds that, assuming war breaks out in the Taiwan Strait, 69% of Americans oppose a United States military intervention. This number is 8% above that in 2004.


The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a leading U.S. think tank, released on September 10 in Washington a report of the latest survey of public views on American foreign policy. The think tank is known for continuously surveying public opinion for many years on U.S. foreign policy. The latest survey finds that Americans’ support for their own country to serve as the "world's policeman" peaked in 2002 and continued to decline since then; especially after the financial crisis. Americans have been more inclined to "selectively" intervene in world affairs and towards the support of multilateral institutions and non-military means to resolve the world's problems.


In 2002, only 25% of the people favored that the United States should not intervene in international affairs, now this number has risen to 38%, which is the highest since the end of World War II; those who advocate that the United States should actively be involved in international affairs still account for 61%, but this number is at its lowest since the end of World War II. In particular, more than 52% of the 18- to 29-year-old "millennials" think that the United States should not “mind other people’s business."


On the Taiwan issue: based on the Taiwan Relations Act, the U.S. government often said that it would sell necessary defensive weapons to Taiwan; but when people are asked “if the mainland of China  attacks Taiwan and a cross-strait war breaks out, should the U.S. send troops to make unilateral intervention?”, 69% of the respondents object and 28% show support. The degree of support is the lowest in comparison with the other seven situations of sending troops, even lower than the supporting rate for U.S. military intervention in the case of North Korean attacking on South Korea (56% oppose, 41% support).


In April of this year, the Chinese-American elite organization Committee of 100 released an opinion survey. It also shows that despite the vast majority of Americans recognize that the Taiwan issue is a strategic issue in the U.S.-China relations; the survey results are still somewhat surprising. When the surveyor asked “ if Taiwan declares independence and leads to cross-strait war, do you support the U.S. military intervention?”, 53% of the general public, 73% of the business leaders, 56% of the decision-makers and 65% of the opinion leaders give a "no" response; 39% of decision-makers and 37% of the general public think that military intervention should be supported.


After a costly 11-year war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq, the Americans are more inclined to avoid a major new war and a direct conflict with the major powers. The survey of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs finds that 70% of the Americans oppose a U.S. unilateral military action against Iran, and that 59% oppose U.S. troops’ intervention on the assumption of a war caused by Israeli bombing of Iran's nuclear facilities.


On the Korean issue, the vast majority of Americans are in favor of continuing diplomatic efforts to force North Korea to end its nuclear program. But when asked whether air strikes should be carried out against suspected nuclear facilities in North Korea, 58% show opposition, and more than 80% of the respondents oppose sending troops to North Korea.


More and more Americans turn their attention to domestic affairs, and think that the military should serve domestic affairs. 68% of the people support a reduction in military spending, which is a 10% increase over 2010; 90% are in favor of reducing or maintaining the current number of overseas long-term military bases of the United States; but supporters of setting up long-term military bases in South Korea, Japan and Germany exceed opposers. The majority of people support the U.S. pivot to Asia, because 52% of the people consider Asia more important than Europe (47%). This outcome is the first since 1994 when the committee started to ask the question whether Asia or Europe was more important to the United States.


On the occasion of the 11th anniversary of the 911 Incident, the survey finds that Americans have eased their concerns over terrorism. When asked about the critical threat to the vital interests of the United States, 67% of the people still put international terrorism at the top of the list, but this is a decrease of 6% from 2010; it is followed by the development of the Iran nuclear program and other unfriendly countries, and the extremely violent organizations in Pakistan and Afghanistan.


What draws attention is that 40% of the people believe that "China becoming a world power" may pose a threat to the United States, ranking seventh of all threats, but decreased by 3% from 2010, indicating that the "China threat theory" is slightly eased; but 52% of the people believe that "the U.S. owing a debt to China” is a threat, ranking fifth and a 1% rise over 2010.

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