Poll finds more Americans are anti-interventionist

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows that 47% of Americans want the US to be less active in world affairs - the highest in the history of the poll.The president's foreign policy approval stands at the worst of his term - 38%.

Americans in large numbers want the U.S. to reduce its role in world affairs even as a showdown with Russia over Ukraine preoccupies Washington, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.

In a marked change from past decades, nearly half of those surveyed want the U.S. to be less active on the global stage, with fewer than one-fifth calling for more active engagement—an anti-interventionist current that sweeps across party lines.

The findings come as the Obama administration said Tuesday that Russia continues to meddle in Ukraine in defiance of U.S. and European sanctions. Pro-Russian militants took over more government buildings in eastern Ukraine, while officials at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization said satellite imagery showed no sign that Russia had withdrawn tens of thousands of troops massed near the border.

The poll showed that approval of President Barack Obama's handling of foreign policy sank to the lowest level of his presidency, with 38% approving, at a time when his overall job performance drew better marks than in recent months.

Mr. Obama defended his diplomacy-first approach at a news conference Monday in the Philippines, the last stop on a four-nation tour through Asia. He said those who called for a more muscular policy hadn't learned the lessons of the U.S. decision to invade Iraq.

"Why is it that everybody is so eager to use military force after we've just gone through a decade of war at enormous costs to our troops and to our budget?" he said. "And what is it exactly that these critics think would have been accomplished?"

Vladimir Putin is using a "diplomacy first" tack and is about to gobble up half of an independent country. No Russian troops have fired a shot, and yet Mr. Putin is getting his way because he appears perfectly willing to use force to achieve his goals. He is imposing his will on a dithering, hesitant, indecisive president.

Obama set up a straw man by accusing his critics of a desire to use military force. No one is talking about going to war. But surely there are stronger measures to be taken than punishing Putin's cronies.

The Geneva agreement touted by the administration died on the table. Russia never had any intention of following through on it. Indeed, the pro-Russian militias appear to be emboldened and are taking over more government buildings while Russia foments more unrest.

Nearly half of the country wants to disingage from the world. So be it. It will give a "green light to power mad villains worldwide, and there's nothing we can do about it," says Editor Lifson.

Hard to disagree with that.