For the first time since the end of the Vietnam War, both the U.S. public and the foreign policy elite see Washington as playing a less important and powerful role in the world than it did a decade before, according to the latest quadrennial survey released here Tuesday by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Pew Research Centre.
A majority of 53 percent of adult respondents in the latest edition of America’s Place in the World said the U.S. was less important and powerful in global affairs than in 2004, which was shortly after Washington invaded Iraq. That event had much of the commentariat here comparing the country’s dominance to the Roman and British empires.
Sixty-two percent of a representative sample of CFR’s membership agreed that Washington is less powerful today than in 2004. CFR’s members, who consist mainly of current and former policy-makers, academics, business executives, journalists, columnists, and other elite professionals who are invited to join, is generally seen as the U.S. foreign policy “establishment”.
The new survey found a strong public ambivalence about Washington’s global role today.