Americans Turn Inward This 4th of July

A poll on the eve of Independence Day confirmed that more Americans see the nation as less powerful and more vulnerable. They want leaders to focus more on the challenges at home.

What's the Latest Development?


A new poll released by Time magazine and the Aspen Ideas Festival indicates that as Americans see overseas threats to the country waning, they prefer that government focus on domestic policy, particularly the economy. "The poll—which finds that more than two-thirds of Americans consider the last 10 years to have been a decade of decline for America—is in sync with other surveys of American opinion in recent months. According to the poll, three-fourths of Americans say economic weakness poses a bigger danger to the U.S. than do national security threats."

What's the Big Idea?

Given the interdependence of today's globalized economy, is it a contradiction to want America to simultaneously focus on rebuilding its economic strength while withdrawing from foreign "entanglements"? The State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development budgets represent one percent of the nation's total budget but, according to Mark Green, former ambassador to Tanzania and current head of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, "that 1 percent is very efficient spending when you consider the role it plays in building our presence in the world."

Related Articles

Human skeletal stem cells isolated in breakthrough discovery

It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.

Image: Nissim Benvenisty
Surprising Science
  • Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
  • These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
  • The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Keep reading Show less

How exercise helps your gut bacteria

Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.

National Institutes of Health
Surprising Science
  • Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
  • Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
  • Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
Keep reading Show less

Giving octopuses ecstasy reveals surprising link to humans

A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.

Image: damn_unique via Flickr
Surprising Science
  • Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
  • Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
  • Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
Keep reading Show less