18 Feb Americans’ Support for UN is Falling
A new poll shows that the number of Americans who view the U.N. favorably has fallen from 44% to 37% since November, suggesting that the UN Oil-for-Food Scandal is having a negative effect (via Instapundit). Of course, only 54% of those polled were actually following the story but of those, 62% believe Kofi Annan should resign. These poll results are not exactly surprising, but they do reflect a much lower level of support for the U.N. than was suggested by this Chicago Council on Foreign Relations survey released last year. This survey suggested fairly strong support for the U.N. and international institutions generally coming up with a composite “temperature” support for the U.N. at 63%.
It is hard to gauge the American public’s opinion for anything, much less international institutions which seem rather obscure to many people. One possibility to explain these disparate poll results is that Americans support the idea of the U.N., but are increasingly unhappy with the actual U.N. and its current leadership.
Or it may just be another reflection of the ambivilance Americans have always had of their proper relationship with international institutions. I’ve been reading Margaret MacMillan’s Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World, an account of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, and it is striking to read about Woodrow Wilson’s insistence on establishing a League of Nations, even before coming to terms with Germany, as well as his micro-management of the details of the League’s establishment. Having then pushed everyone else into accepting the League, he went home and found the Senate and the nation unwilling and uninterested.