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Poll: Americans Skeptical of Involvement in Conflicts Overseas

Image: Poll: Americans Skeptical of Involvement in Conflicts Overseas Soldiers with the United States Army's 3rd Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment on patrol in Kandahar Province, Zhari District, Afghanistan.

By Lisa Barron   |   Friday, 07 Jun 2013 09:14 AM

Skepticism over U.S. involvement in foreign conflicts has increased significantly after 12 years of war, with a majority of Americans now opposed to incursions abroad.

The latest New York Times/CBS News Poll found that 58 percent believe the United States should not take a leading role in trying to resolve conflicts, markedly more than when the question was last asked in April 2003, a month after the invasion of Iraq. Only a third say the United States should be at the forefront of international efforts.

When it comes to Iran, however, the same proportion of respondents, nearly six in 10, say the United States should take military action if necessary to prevent Tehran from producing nuclear weapons.

The findings come as President Barack Obama considers whether to increase support to opposition forces fighting against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The poll, conducted May 31 to June 4, also found that a large majority of respondents consider cyberattacks a very serious or somewhat serious threat to national security, with nearly six in 10 saying the country is inadequately prepared.

At the same time, more than half of Americans surveyed said the U.S. never should conduct such attacks against another country, while about a third said such attacks should be carried out.

The survey also showed that Obama generally has mixed reviews overall on his handling of foreign policy. Forty-five percent approve of his performance, while 39 percent disapprove.

But the administration's handling of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, is continuing to take a toll, with 53 percent of those surveyed saying the administration is "mostly hiding something" about the attack and 34 percent saying it was "mostly telling the truth."

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