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Majority Of Americans Oppose Attacking Iran

According to a new survey conducted for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs survey of public opinion on foreign policy (PDF), Americans oppose an attack on Iran:

While nearly two-thirds of Americans see Iran as a threat (down a bit from two years ago), slightly more still want their government to talk to the Iranians. What don’t Americans want? A war with Iran, especially not a unilateral one (my emphasis):

A slim majority (51%) opposes UN authorization of a military strike against Iran’s nuclear energy facilities, with a substantial minority (45%) supporting such action. A far broader majority (70%) opposes a unilateral strike by the United States if Iran continues to enrich uranium but the Security Council does not authorize a military strike.

That means even some of those Americans who think Iran is hellbent on developing weapons—or that Iran already has them—don’t support an attack.

Americans aren’t that keen on the idea of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program either: 59 percent of respondents to the Chicago Council said the U.S. shouldn’t commit military forces to help Israel in the event that an Israeli initiated-strike touches off a broader conflict. Nearly four-in-ten said the U.S. should jump in.

This actually surprises me somewhat since one would have thought that American antipathy toward Iran would’ve made support for military action more likely. Obviously, ten years of war have made the American public not so eager to fight another one. One interesting takeaway from the poll is that the strategy toward Iran most supported by those surveyed are multilateral and unilateral sanctions, which Romney and the Republicans keep telling us won’t work.

H/T: Andrew Sullivan

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. de stijl says:

    Obviously, ten years of war have made the American public not so eager to fight another one. One interesting takeaway from the poll is that the strategy toward Iran most supported by those surveyed are multilateral and unilateral sanctions, which Romney and the Republicans keep telling us won’t work.

    Be careful what you wish for – the PNACers got what they wanted with Iraq, but the short- and long-term consequences of that action were not what they envisioned.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  2. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl: And it has made many so war weary that even if Iran was a necessary war, a lot of people would be opposed.

    Way to go, PNAC! You’ve weakened America!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  3. Argon says:

    Poor Dick Cheney and the neocons. All pumped up on military Viagra but stuck in a country with coffers as depleted as their prostates.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  4. walt moffett says:

    Might be fun to watch the press for reports about stand off weapons, “the missile will always get through” and similar articles.

    The reports conclusion that among those surveyed there is little divergence between D and R on foreign policy except for immigration and the Middle East is interesting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Ron Beasley says:

    Take that Bibi!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  6. al-Ameda says:

    Obviously, ten years of war have made the American public not so eager to fight another one. One interesting takeaway from the poll is that the strategy toward Iran most supported by those surveyed are multilateral and unilateral sanctions, which Romney and the Republicans keep telling us won’t work.

    Well, this puts Romney at odds with the public.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  7. Dave Schuler says:

    I genuinely wish that both the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration had not proclaimed that Iran’s having nuclear weapons was “unacceptable”. That could mean anything from “we’ll be very, very unhappy” to “we’ll nuke you into oblivion”. There are certain cases in which strategic ambiguity is useful. I don’t think this is one of them. In this particular case the posture makes our allies nervous and emboldens our opponents which wouldn’t appear to be what we might want to accomplish by it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    This actually surprises me somewhat since one would have thought that American antipathy toward Iran would’ve made support for military action more likely. Obviously, ten years of war have made the American public not so eager to fight another one.

    I have to say Doug, Americans are not as stupid as I think they are. I think they actually recognize the fact that a nuclear armed Iran can only use those arms if attacked. To use them otherwise invites annihilation. Indeed, to use them even in the event of being attacked could well invite annihilation as well.

    In other words, nuclear weapons are, at best, defensive.

    (see Iraq, see N Korea)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  9. Dazedandconfused says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    My impression was that it was elaborated to include military measures would be taken. General McAuliffe notwithstanding, one word is never enough, and seldom is one put out there all by itself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Jim Henley says:

    @Dave Schuler: Holy fk, Schuler, weren’t you once supposed to approach foreign policy with a modicum of intelligence? Using the phrase “emboldens our enemies” without irony is basically shouting to the world that “I AM NEVER TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY ON THIS SUBJECT!” It’s a phrase for hacks and fools. Maybe you used it accidentally?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  11. Jack Moss says:

    Doesn’t much matter what Americans think, Israel is likely to just take the jump anyway. Good for them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  12. de stijl says:

    @Jack Moss:

    Israel is likely to just take the jump anyway. Good for them.

    Yeah, I’m sure it will all work out super for everyone involved.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  13. de stijl says:

    @Jim Henley:

    Maybe you used it accidentally?

    Usage of the word “embolden” only serves to beclown the writer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. C. Clavin says:

    That puts both Romney’s Foreign Policy and his Economic Policy at odds with the American people.
    Luckily for Romney his only true core belief is his own ambition…so these pesky policy issues can be changed as required.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  15. Davebo says:

    Why can’t the American public realize that Iran has been six months away from having a nuclear weapon for the last decade!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0