11.10.2023 0

Voters Demand Peace Through Strength, say Trump but not Biden will Make America Respected by Allies and Feared by Enemies

By Manzanita Miller

“We know only too well that war comes not when the forces of freedom are strong, but when they are weak. It is then that tyrants are tempted.” These are the words of former President Ronald Reagan, and they ring as true today as they did the summer before he was elected for his first term.   

To maximize peace, global powers like the United States must be respected, but they must also be feared, and unlike the ineffectual self-serving pundits ostensibly running Biden’s White House, the American people know this in their hearts.  

Since the decades-long Afghanistan war finally came to a thankless end, Americans appetite for foreign intervention has rapidly deteriorated. Yet emboldened enemies are escalating instability around the globe. We’ve witnessed the disturbing Russia-Ukraine war persist for 21 months and Hamas’ vicious attack on Israel wreak havoc on countless innocents. Americans are deeply concerned about being forced into an overseas war if Biden is reinstalled at the helm of the country.

The public sees the most important role for our nation as regaining the respect of our allies and sparking a healthy fear into adversary nations who have become emboldened under the Biden Administration’s anemic leadership.

Public opinion polls in recent weeks hammer home the fact that Americans do not wish to entangle ourselves in another war but do wish to restore the United States as a respected global leader.

YouGov polling shows the American people believe the U.S. must be respected, admired, and feared to keep the peace, but largely do not believe a Biden presidency will inspire that sentiment. According to voters, the most likely outcome if Biden is reelected is that other countries will ‘like’ the United States but not respect, admire, or fear us.  

The largest share of the public (51%) says if Biden is reelected the U.S. will be ‘liked’ by other nations, while well under half believe we will be respected (41%) or admired (30%). Just 18% of Americans think a second Biden term would strike a healthy fear into our enemies.

These numbers are very different when considering how a Trump Administration would be seen globally. While less than half of voters (41%) say the U.S., would be respected under Biden, more than half (52%) say our nation would be respected under Trump.  

A similar share of Americans say the U.S. would be admired under Trump (32%) as Biden (30%), but nearly four times as many Americans say the U.S. would be feared under Trump (72%) compared to Biden (18%). As far as being ‘liked’, half as many (25%) of voters say the U.S. would be ‘liked’ under Trump compared to Biden.  

Americans believe the country would be respected and feared under Trump but liked under Biden. This sentiment is even more clear when Americans are asked about the likelihood of the United States being ensnared into an overseas war under both Administrations. 

Less than a quarter of the public (23%) say the chances of being dragged into an overseas conflict would go down with another Biden term, while 43% believe a Trump presidency would drive down those odds. 

In terms of restoring peace and stability in the world, less than a third (31%) of Americans say another Biden term would increase peace and stability compared to almost half (47%) who say a Trump administration would. It is worth noting that swing voters, including voters under age thirty, Independents, and Hispanics favor Trump over Biden by roughly ten-percentage-points or more for restoring peace and stability.

While Americans wish to project strength and inspire both respect and fear in other nations, the public says by nearly a three to one margin (72% to 28%) that the U.S. should stay out of foreign conflicts and not try to solve problems for other nations. However, Americans understand the United States serves an important role on the global stage and the public says by a four to one margin (81% to 19%) we should work with our allies to achieve common goals.

Americans know that being respected rather than ‘liked’ and even striking a healthy dose of fear into emboldened adversaries are vital for keeping the peace globally, and Trump was the first president since Jimmy Carter not to start any new wars using that framework. Peace through strength is a powerful form of diplomacy, but one the Biden Administration has categorically failed to understand or implement.   

Manzanita Miller is an associate analyst at Americans for Limited Government Foundation.

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