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Should America be the world's police?

How much should we intervene in other countries’ affairs, if ever? 

How much power should the U.S. give to international institutions like the United Nations?

These are recurring questions that the American public revisits every few years. There is fierce debate on all sides of the political spectrum about how much influence and involvement the U.S. should have on the world stage.

With the United States consistently oscillating between isolationist and interventionist periods depending on the political climate, views about foreign policy tend to shift with the times. Even so, party divisions exist on this issue, as does common ground. Here are a few examples of data and stories to support that:

  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is supported by a majority of Americans including 88% of Democrats, 70% of Republicans, and 75% of Independents, as reported by Gallup (Center) in data from 2019. The United Nations also still garners support from a majority of Americans, with 86% of Democrats, 66% of Independents, and about half of Republicans supporting it. 
  • 57% of Republicans, 82% of Democrats, and 72% of Independents say the US should be more willing to make decisions with allies even if that results in the US agreeing to a policy that is not its first choice. This is from 2021 data from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. 
  • Republicans (83%) and Democrats (68%) both view China unfavorably according to Pew Research (center) data
  • 85% of Democrats and 73% of Republicans say “working closely with U.S. allies across the world to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the right strategy for the United States,” Pew Research found. There is also bipartisan support for keeping strict economic sanctions on Russia (85% Republicans, 88% Democrats) and keeping the U.S. military in NATO countries near Ukraine (75% Republicans, 81% Democrats). There is bipartisan agreement that we should not take military action against Russia if it risks nuclear conflict (64% Republicans, 65% Democrats). 
  • In the 2020 election, 57% of both Trump and Biden voters ranked foreign policy as very important to their voting decision according to Pew Research data.
  • 71% of Republicans and 76% of Democrats view the United States's involvement in the world economy as a good thing as stated in Pew Research’s 2019 data.
  • Republicans and Democrats agree that taking measures to protect the US from terrorism (Democrats 61%, Republicans 84%) and protecting the jobs of American workers (Democrats 65%, Republicans 81%) are high on the list of important foreign policy positions, while attracting skilled workers from other countries (Democrats 18%, Republicans 15%), promoting democracy in other nations (Democrats 22%, Republicans 11%), and solving the Isreal and Palestine conflict (Democrats 17%, Republicans 17%) rank low, according to 2018 data from Pew Research (center).


See more examples of common ground on issues where you might not expect to find it:


Clare Ashcraft is the Bridging & Bias Assistant at AllSides. She has a Center bias.

This piece was reviewed by Managing Editor Henry A. Brechter (Center bias), News Research Assistant Ethan Horowitz(Lean Right Bias) and Daily News Editor Joseph D. Ratliff (Lean Left bias)