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."

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