Americans’ Foreign Policy Preferences Tied to Geographic Savvy

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Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

The situation in Ukraine continues to gain tension with Russia’s annexation of Crimea contested by the international community, and Russian military influence over the Ukrainian region condemned by Ukraine’s interim government. Protests in regions of Ukraine such as Donetsk are showing pro-Russian violence towards regional government there.

So far, the U.S. has responded to Russia’s encroachment on Ukraine’s territory with sanctions and isolationist tactics. It’s a response that President Barack Obama has seen returned with considerable criticism, as has his foreign policy in general. Specifically, he’s getting flack from both Republicans and international critics — including Israel in regards to Iran — for ineffective opposition in the form of sanctions and a lack of strength shown in the face of international conflicts.

Two-thirds of Americans in general have self-reported that they are following the events with Ukraine either “somewhat closely” or “very closely,” based on a Gallup poll in early March. This is especially significant in light of a new study from political scientists Kyle Dropp, Joshua D. Kertzer, and Thomas Zeitzoff, who wrote a piece in The Washington Post on their findings. The study asked a national survey sample size of 2,066 Americans their preferences on foreign policy, as well as asking them to place Ukraine on a map of the United States. An interesting correlation was found. Only one in six could correctly place Ukraine geographically, and the further answers were from being correct, the more likely respondents were to be in favor of intervention via military force.

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