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Most Americans want more diplomacy, many want fewer troops abroad -survey By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO. A U.S. soldier from 2-12 Infantry, 4BCT-4ID Task Force Mountain Warrior, takes a rest during an overnight mission at Honaker Miracle Camp in the Pesh valley, Kunar Province. August 12, 2009. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

(In final paragraph, changes margin of error to percentage points)

By Arshad Mohammed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A majority of Americans want more U.S. diplomatic engagement and a plurality want fewer U.S. troops stationed abroad, according to a survey taken as the chaotic U.S. evacuation of Afghanistan took place.

The Eurasia Group Foundation, a non-partisan nonprofit organization, conducted the survey from Aug. 27 to Sept. 1, 2012. Reuters reviewed it Tuesday. The survey found that 58.3% believed the United States should be more involved in negotiations regarding issues like climate change and human rights, as well as migration.

21% of respondents believed that the United States should not engage in as much, and 20% did not think so.

From the 2,168 respondents, 42.3% believed the United States should reduce the number of its troops in Europe and Asia, and decrease its commitments to defending countries. They also need to gradually transfer regional security responsibility from allies.

The poll was reviewed by Reuters before its Wednesday publication. 32.2% of those surveyed believed that the United States should maintain or increase its troop abroad. 25.5% did not have an opinion.

August 30 marked the end of nearly two decades-long U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan. This was to defeat the Taliban rulers, who are responsible for the September 11 attacks.

Mark Hannah, senior Eurasia Group Foundation Fellow said the Americans believe that U.S. should care more about building democracy here than in other countries. He suggested this could be because the survey took place as U.S. forces left Afghanistan.

We collected our data during the U.S.’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. The failures of democracy-promotion and nation-building through military means were striking and quite dramatic,” he said. That could be why there has been an increase in the number of people who want to promote democracy at home.

The survey also found that:

– 40.3% or respondents want to maintain current U.S. military spending, while 38.6% want to cut it and 16.4% want to increase it;

– 62.6% support reviving nuclear talks with Iran and seeking an agreement that prevents its development of nuclear weapons, while 37.4% oppose talks and favor pressuring Iran with economic sanctions to keep it from obtaining such arms;

– 42.2% believe the U.S. military should defend Taiwan if it were attacked by China, 16.2% believe it should not, and 41.6% were unsure.

SurveyMonkey’s online survey was designed by the Eurasia Group Foundation. It is legal separate from the Eurasia Group Political Risk Consulting. Ian Bremmer, a political scientist, founded both.

At a 95% confidence level the survey showed a +/- 2 percentage point error margin. This was considered normal for a population of 258.3 millions.

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