When they asked Americans whether they support the U.S. taking “an active part in world affairs”, 69 percent said yes; 30 percent, no. Asked if they favor using U.S. troops to “fight violent Islamic extremism in Iraq and Syria,” 59 percent said yes. But when they asked if they supported maintaining troop levels in Afghanistan, support dropped to 41 percent — lower than for maintaining troops in Syria (43 percent), Germany (44 percent), or Japan (51 percent).
Of course, support for a given level of troops is not the best way to measure American support for overseas engagement — which as the council’s report notes, comes in many forms, including diplomacy and aid. But it shows something about how Americans really feel about “ending forever wars.”