I am happy to announce the publication of a new report I recently coauthored with colleagues from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Charles Koch Institute. The report is “The Clash of Generations? Intergenerational Change and American Foreign Policy Views.”
Here is a short overview:
Since World War II the United States has maintained an active foreign policy agenda, deeply engaged in both the economic and military domains. Many observers over the past few years, however, have begun to voice doubts about public support for the critical pillars of American internationalism. Some have argued that the American public has lost its appetite for military intervention after more than 15 years at war in the greater Middle East. Others have suggested that Donald Trump’s election revealed weakening support for free trade and for the global alliance system the United States built after World War II.
Many observers have worried, in particular, about whether younger Americans will be willing to take up the mantle of global leadership. This question matters a good deal in light of the fact that the Millennial Generation, those born between 1981 and 1996, is now the largest generation of Americans. Like the Baby Boomers before them, Millennials have already had an outsized impact on American culture. As they age and begin to take leadership positions in business, government, and across society, their views – not those of their parents and grandparents – will be decisive.
In order to understand where foreign policy attitudes are headed, we employ a generational perspective to analyze a wide range of survey data collected by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs since 1974. The findings reveal that generations share many opinions about international threats, foreign policy goals, and the best approaches to engaging the world. Yet, each generation from the Silent Generation onward entered adulthood somewhat less supportive of expansive American internationalism, with more recent generations expressing lower support for militarized approaches to achieve foreign policy goals.
Read the report online here.