According to the Pew Research Center, Americans today are split on how they view the U.S.’ efforts to solve world problems, compared with their sentiments over a decade ago. In 2002, at the start of the Iraq War, 47% of Americans said the U.S. does “too much,” 31% said the U.S. does the “right amount,” and 17% said the U.S. does “too little” in terms of solving the world’s problems. In 2014, those numbers were 51%, 28%, and 17%, respectively. Today, only 30% of Americans believe the U.S. does “too much” in solving world problems (down 17 points from 2002), 29% say the U.S. does the “right amount,” and 33% say the U.S. does “too little” (up 16 points from 2002).
Support for the U.S.’ role in global problems is similar to opinions about direct talks with North Korea. More Americans approve of direct talks with North Korea today (71%) than the number who approved of talks with Iran in 2015 (49%).
Given these numbers, it is likely Americans support President Donald J. Trump’s actions on North Korea. That includes his decision to pull out of the North Korea summit last week, considering they are skeptical as well. Forty-nine percent do not believe North Korea’s leadership is serious about addressing concerns with their nuclear program, including 50% of Republicans and 49% of Democrats. A cautious approach to these talks will not only be smart from a foreign policy standpoint, but a political one as well.