November 19, 2009
A large majority of Americans believes that the United Nations (UN) plays a necessary role in the world and supports U.S. participation in the UN. Large majorities favor the United States working through the UN more than it does, even if this means the United States has to accept compromises. At the same time Americans have in recent years shown significant dissatisfaction with the UN’s performance in fulfilling its mission. This mixture of strong support for the UN in principle and dissatisfaction with its actual performance seems to contribute to surprisingly erratic overall evaluations of the UN as an institution. Download full chapter (PDF).
U.S. public support for the United Nations appears to be derived from a perceived need for collective action to deal with global problems and from a belief in the efficiencies of collective action. Reservations appear to be related to performance issues. Download full chapter (PDF).
Polls have found U.S. public support for adding new countries as permanent members of the UN Security Council. Specifically, majorities of Americans support the inclusion of Germany, Japan, India, and Brazil, while they are divided on including South Africa. Download full chapter (PDF).
While most European nations favor having a single permanent seat on the UN Security Council even if it means replacing the permanent seats of the United Kingdom and France, the American public is opposed. Download full chapter (PDF).
There is robust support among Americans for giving the UN Security Council the power to override the veto of a permanent member if all other members are in favor of a resolution. Download full chapter (PDF).
There is variable American public support for several proposed approaches to make the UN more democratically representative. Large majorities of Americans favor direct elections of their country’s UN representative to the General Assembly, as well as a new UN parliament with directly elected representatives, while a more modest majority favors giving non-governmental actors a formal role in the United Nations. Additionally, global support for these proposals is consistently stronger than American support. Download full chapter (PDF).
In general, Americans express a positive view of the influence of international financial institutions, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). While both get mildly positive ratings, the World Bank is more popular than the IMF. The World Trade Organization (WTO) has a fairly positive image among Americans, who support strengthening it. Respondents in the United States, as in most other nations, say that their government should comply with adverse WTO decisions. Download full chapter (PDF).
A majority of Americans express confidence that the International Court of Justice would rule fairly and impartially in cases involving their country. A majority favors the United States accepting compulsory jurisdiction of the court. In addition, large majorities of Americans favor U.S. participation in the International Criminal Court (ICC), even when presented with the U.S. government argument against it, and large majorities favor trying terror suspects in the ICC. A modest majority favors sharing intelligence with the ICC. Download full chapter (PDF).
A majority of Americans favor creating new international institutions to monitor compliance with climate change treaties, to monitor global financial markets, to monitor the energy market, and to provide information about migration. Download full chapter (PDF).
Most Americans agree that NATO is still essential, think that it needs to be strengthened, and do not want to cut spending for it. Most also agree that Europe should have its own defense alliance. Large majorities agree that the United States should contribute troops to defend a NATO member that has been attacked. Download full chapter (PDF).
Americans perceive the European Union as playing a positive role in the world. Americans lean toward favoring the European Union becoming more powerful, though they do not favor it becoming as powerful as the United States. Download full chapter (PDF).
Stewart M. Patrick assesses multilateral cooperation and state sovereignty.
Edward Alden and others explore ideas and initiatives for rebuilding American economic strength.
The story of the tragic and often tormented relationship between the United States and Pakistan, and a call to prepare for the worst, aim for the best, and avoid past mistakes. More
An authoritative and accessible look at what countries must do to build durable and prosperous democracies—and what the United States and others can do to help. More
A groundbreaking analysis of what the changes in American energy mean for the economy, national security, and the environment. More
This Independent Task Force report finds that as more people and services become interconnected and dependent on the Internet, societies are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks.
This Independent Task Force asserts that Turkey is an increasingly influential regional and economic power and calls for the United States and Turkey to forge a new partnership.
The authors assess the political, security, and economic challenges facing U.S. policymakers in Afghanistan and evaluate a range of policy options.
Special operations play a critical role in how the United States confronts irregular threats, but to have long-term strategic impact, the author argues, numerous shortfalls must be addressed.
This volume brings together a broad range of Foreign Affairs content to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of Samuel Huntington’s classic article “The Clash of Civilizations?” More
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Americans are conflicted about the U.S. role in the world: a record 52 percent surveyed recently said "the United States should mind its own...
Despite its strategic "rebalancing" toward Asia, the United States is unlikely to sponsor a collective defense organization for the...
The League of Nations was championed by President Woodrow Wilson in a fourteen-point speech to a joint session of Congress on January 8,...
Andrew Kohut and Michael Dimock discuss the findings of their new Renewing America Working Paper.