A new poll released by the Associated Press and GfK Public Affairs finds that 55% of Americans disapprove of the way President Obama has handled foreign affairs, with only 37% approving of his handling of the conflict between Israel and the terrorist group Hamas.
The poll asked respondents a number of questions about both foreign policy and immigration; on the former affairs, the Obama administration scored exceptionally low. In the Middle East particularly, Americans appear to have lost most of their trust in the President. Thirty-eight percent of respondents believe that President Obama is mishandling the situation in Afghanistan, which might come as a surprise to some overwhelmed by the news from Gaza. Though underreported, the Taliban is making significant gains in Afghanistan due to America’s almost complete withdrawal from the region. Sixty percent of Americans disapprove of Obama in this realm; in December 2013, 45% of Americans approved of the job the President was doing in Afghanistan.
Even fewer Americans–37%–approve of President Obama’s handling of the situation in Israel, and a full half of the country disapproves of the job Secretary of State John Kerry has done. Only 18% of respondents trust Democrats the most with “protecting the country.”
These numbers all come to an unfortunate head for President Obama in the way Americans view his handling of relationships around the world generally: 55% disapprove, while 46% approve. As The Hill notes, this represents a six-point drop since January.
The issue appears to be a significant rift between how Americans see their government’s place in the international community and the way the Obama administration would like it to be. Fifty-one percent of respondents polled believed that the role the United States plays in global affairs is “extremely important,” and seventy-two percent responded that they believe it is either “important” or “extremely important.” The manner in which the Obama administration has handled multiple international crises–the Syrian Civil War, the eradication of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and the decaying governmental infrastructure of post-Qaddafi Libya–indicated that its members do not agree. President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have both discussed a “rapidly-changing” world order in which the United States is not the leading superpower, putting into motion that belief by voting “present” on a wide variety of international crises.
While Democrats mocked Mitt Romney for claiming that Vladimir Putin was a threat to the United States on the international stage, Americans by and large now agree: a Pew Poll released this week finds that 75% of Americans view Russia as either an “adversary” or a “serious problem,” and 85% of Americans view the crisis in Ukraine as either “very important” or “somewhat important” for the United States.
Similarly, while the White House continues to berate Israel for defending itself against a seemingly endless barrage of rockets from Hamas, Americans continue to support the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the efforts to eradicate terrorism from Gaza. Yet another Pew poll released this week found that 50% of Americans believe Israel has either responded “about right” or “not gone far enough” in fighting Hamas. Forty percent of Americans blame Hamas entirely for the current situation.
The Obama administration’s foreign policy woes are little surprise given the clear message from the American people, who supported him most when announcing the killing of Osama bin Laden and have been most disapproving as the White House bows to the leaders of China, Russia, Iran, Qatar, and the whims of the anti-American international community.