The Biden administration will soon release its National Security Strategy, which is being revised in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The document will no doubt trigger a renewed debate about how the United States should gear up for a new Cold War against Russia and China. But before we plunge into a global great-power competition, it’s worth recalling President Biden’s promise to create a “foreign policy for the middle class” and take a look at what most concerns Americans.
Congress is about to add tens of billions of dollars to the military budget. Unrepentant hawks scorn this as inadequate, urging a 50 percent increase, or an additional $400 billion or more a year. Aid to Ukraine totals more than $40 billion this year, and counting. A new buildup is underway in the Pacific. Biden summons Americans to the global battle between democracy and autocracy, implying that U.S. security depends on spreading democracy — and, implicitly, regime change — worldwide.
Americans, it is safe to say, have different — one might suggest more practical — concerns, as revealed in a recent Quinnipiac University poll. Asked about the most urgent issue facing the country today, 27 percent of respondents — the highest number — ranked inflation as No. 1, while only 2 percent ranked Ukraine at the top. In a range of Economist-YouGov polls over the past month, the top foreign-policy concerns included immigration and climate change.
The foreign policy “blob” may be gearing up for a global Cold War, but Americans are focused on security at home. According to a survey by the nonpartisan Eurasia Group Foundation, nearly half of Americans think the United States should decrease its involvement in other countries’ affairs; only 21.6 percent would increase it. Nearly 45 percent would decrease U.S. troop deployments abroad; only 32.2 percent would increase them.
Read the full piece in The Washington Post.