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Is Global Engagement Worth It? Young Americans Are Unsure 

Americans born between 1981 and 2012 have grown up in a world more interconnected than their parents could have imagined—but that hasn’t necessarily translated to a desire for the United States to take an active part in it.

“Council data show that the youngest two generations of Americans—Millennials and Generation Z—are most likely to question US global engagement at a policy level and are especially hesitant to endorse a foreign policy dominated by military approaches,” Dina Smeltz and Emily Sullivan write. “Unlike their elders, they would rather see the federal defense budget decreased than increased.” 

However, allies who rely on Washington for security need not worry: younger Americans still support maintaining US troop levels around the world. 

Check out the full report for more takeaways. 

The Data Dimension

While younger Americans have different views than their elders when it comes to foreign policy, those positions may not be reflected in Washington. Despite making up 28 percent of the US population, Millennials hold only 10 percent of the seats in Congress. Emma Geiser digs into the implications in our Running Numbers blog

What We're Watching

  • France’s pension protests: Ivo Daalder and guests unpack the backlash to President Macron’s plan to raise the country’s retirement age on World Review.  
  • Ukraine on the campaign trail: Nonresident Senior Fellow Bruce Jentleson offers his take on how the war could factor into the 2024 presidential race. 
  • The US-Japan alliance: The Japanese public thinks the US focus on the war in Ukraine could discourage American intervention in Asian conflicts, a new Council-Japan Institute of International Affairs survey finds.  
  • Groupthink on China: “The growing bipartisan consensus . . . is driving us toward an aggressive stance that could put needed cooperation out of reach,” Elizabeth Shackelford writes. 

Ask an Expert

"headshot of Paul Poast"Why was Chinese President Xi Jinping’s meeting with Vladimir Putin in Moscow significant? 
“Xi’s decision to carry through with the visit despite the West’s efforts to isolate Putin as an international pariah—and just days after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest for war crimes—further legitimized the Russian leader. While some say that the trip’s symbolic value was the only benefit it offered Putin, that symbolism still matters.” 

—Nonresident Fellow Paul Poast in World Politics Review 

About the Author
Communications Officer
headshot of Libby Berry
As the communications officer for the Lester Crown Center, Libby Berry works to connect audiences with foreign policy research and analysis.
headshot of Libby Berry