The Clash of Generations? Intergenerational Change and American Foreign Policy Views

June 25, 2018

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 voiced doubts about public support for the critical pillars of American internationalism. Many have worried, in particular, about whether younger Americans will believe it worthwhile to take up the mantle of global leadership.

A new report from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Charles Koch Institute, and Cato scholars Trevor Thrall and Erik Goepner analyzes a wide range of survey data collected by the Chicago Council since 1974. The report finds that each generation from the silent generation onward entered adulthood less supportive of expansive American internationalism. More recent generations also express lower support for militarized approaches to achieve foreign policy goals.

In this special Cato policy forum, the authors will present their findings and will participate in a lively discussion on the impact that generational differences may have on U.S. foreign policy.

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