September 6th, 2011
12:44 PM ET

Debate: What role should the U.S. play in world affairs?

Think for a moment about the role the U.S. should play in trying to solve international problems.  Do you think the U.S. should take the leading role in world affairs, take a major role but not the leading role, take a minor role or take no role at all in world affairs?

Check out Gallup's U.S. poll on this same question. Also, see what Jay Newton-Small had to say about this over at TIME in her post, "Many in the West don't want to see a post-American world":

Most Europeans – 54% — want to see strong American leadership, according to a new Transatlantic Trends poll out Sept. 14. And a whopping 85% of Americans want their country to lead the world. Certainly, if you listen to the GOP field of U.S. presidential wannabes, American exceptionalism has been on the decline and should be a priority. To their mind, America should always be No. 1.

But, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies's 2011 Review of World Affairs, out Tuesday, America's interest in leading the world is at the lowest point since before Sept. 11. “The U.S. approach to international crises in the medium term will be shaped by the country's war fatigue,” John Chipman, the institute's director, told reporters in London at the report's unveiling. “‘Abroad' has become a synonym for ‘quagmire' in the American political consciousness. ‘Home' is the priority for which most political capital must be spent.” Traditionally, second-term presidents have focused more on foreign policy. Given the economic climate, President Obama has been forced to focus much of his attentions inward, and it remains to be seen whether he's been successful enough to win a second term. A decade of two protracted and expensive wars have worn thin on the world's only superpower.

Read more at TIME's Global Spin blog.

Also, back your position up with an argument below.

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Topics: Debate • Foreign Policy • Poll • United States

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Onesmallvoice

    Like I said before, who in their right mind wants the right-wing thugs in Washington to dominate the world? I sure don't! In fact, Europe in now lavishing in a severe depression because the current leaders of Europe are too busy taking orders from Washington to work on their own problems. Does anybody remember the Belle Epoch(1880-1914) when Europe prospered and the U.S. did likewise at the same time? We need to play a far lesser role in the world than we do right now and let these world leaders solve their own problems!

    September 6, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Reply
    • Sanity

      I completely agree, Onesmallvoice. The biggest problem the world has today is the U.S. sticking it's nose into the internal affairs of other nations and this soarly needs to cease and soon! This is what's causing so many needless wars. After all, who would like having some neighbor telling them what they can and cannot do in the very privacy of their home? I for one definate would not!!!

      September 6, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Reply
      • Sanity

        Sorry for the missprint above. I meant to print "definately", not "definate".

        September 6, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • j. von hettlingen

      Onesmallvoice, your argument is as old as a fossil.
      Yes, the Belle Epoque or the Glided Age were glorious days. Yet you can't just dwell on the past!
      Yes, America had made mistakes, but it needs to move on. Like it or not, without you!

      September 6, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Reply
  2. fernace

    We live in an age when it's crystal clear that this is 1 planet, which thrives (or not) on a world economy & all nations feel the reprecussions of the unrest of their neighbors! Still, as has been stated above, each nation or "home" must take care of their own, solve their own problems & use principles & policies that work for our home nation! I think it's good that America is a strong model for the rest of the world, but not at the expence of American citizens! That would be like the family down the street who seems so perfect on the surface, but are suffering all sorts of dysfunction on the inside! We should also not strive for world dominance! So far every historical culture that has tried it, has failed, often miserably & at a high cost to the rest of the world! We should be available to the world, in tandem with other strong nations! After all that's 1 of our democratic principles, to work with others & not be a dictator!!

    September 6, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Reply
  3. Kamala.CCBC

    It’s about time that America steps back and allows countries to solve their own problems. By solving other countries problems, it is time consuming and consumes too much of the American citizen’s tax dollars. The money being sent overseas could have been used to solve the problems within American borders. If anything, the government should solve their domestic problems before they start solving international issues. America can no longer afford being the “911” call center. Currently, America owes foreign countries about $4.5 trillion, and America owes their own country $9.8 trillion. By continuing to be the major helping hand in solving world issues, it will be an economic disaster, and cause further unhappiness toward the government from their own citizens.

    September 7, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Reply
  4. Eddie Fonseca

    America has always been seen as country that believes in freedom and liberty should prevail not just in America but around the world as well, when we send our brave Marines and U.S Air Force pilots as they carry the Stars and Strips flags on their tanks and airplanes they are not just fighting for our freedom but everyone else's as well. It's always been in our history to fight for freedom in other parts of the world as well dating back to the Cold War and Korean War so that people could have better way of life. I do agree as a proud American we can't be the 911 call center to solve all terrorist related attacks in all parts of the world, this why we should setup a team such as a US terrorist diplomatic team, that trains international governments on how to deal with their terrorists situations and be a support to those governments if the need our help. As Americans we can all agree our great nation can't always be the world police on every international crises in the world, we have to let other governments do their job's because the people of those places have elected their officials to handle their concerns. If we step back from handing the world's terrorists problems other countries will respect us and this will show a positive image of America's military and diplomatic strengths tot the rest of the world for years to come.

    May 17, 2014 at 9:31 pm | Reply

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