Misreading the Public: The Myth of a New Isolationism by Steven KullMisreading the Public: The Myth of a New Isolationism by Steven Kull

Misreading the Public: The Myth of a New Isolationism

bySteven Kull

Paperback | January 15, 1999

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Do American policymakers really know what the American public wants in U.S. foreign policy? Through extensive interviews with members of the policy community, the authors reveal a pervasive belief—especially in Congress—that, in the wake of the cold war, the public is showing a new isolationism: opposition to foreign aid, hostility to the United Nations, and aversion to contributing U.S. troops to peacekeeping operations. This view of the public has in turn had a significant impact on U.S. foreign policy. However, through a comprehensive review of polling data, as well as focus groups, the authors show that all these beliefs about the public are myths. The public does complain that the United States is playing the role of dominant world leader more than it should, but this does not lead to a desire to withdraw. Instead people prefer to share responsibility with other nations, particularly through the UN. The authors offer explanations of how such a misperception can occur and suggest ways to improve communication between the public and policymakers, including better presentation of polling data and more attention by practitioners to a wider public.

Steven Kull, a political psychologist, is director of the Program on International Public Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland and WorldPublicOpinion.org, an international project studying public opinion around the world. He comanages the international polling for BBC World Service. His previous books include Misreading th...
Title:Misreading the Public: The Myth of a New IsolationismFormat:PaperbackDimensions:330 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:January 15, 1999Publisher:Brookings Institution PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0815717652

ISBN - 13:9780815717652


From Our Editors

Steven Kull and I.M. Destler are directors of the Center for the Study of Policy Attitudes. The two men join forces in sharing their knowledge and expertise with readers regarding the United States’ attitudes toward foreign policy in Misreading the Public. Citing several studies, Kull and Destler dispel many of the myths currently circulating that claim the American public believes the nation plays far too great a role in peacekeeping, contributes too much to foreign aid and dislikes dealing with the United Nations. Instead, the authors contend these misperceptions are the result of poor communication and surveying tools while suggesting ways to remedy the situation.