A vast majority of Americans are concerned about the United States’ potential involvement in a new major war—but most think military action is the wrong way to go about approaching international threats, according to an NBC poll released Tuesday.
The survey finds that more than three-quarters of citizens are worried about a significant military conflict touching off—up 10 points from 66 percent in February.
Much of the anxiety appears to stem from reports of North Korea’s potential nuclear capabilities; 41 percent believe that Kim Jong Un’s government poses the greatest threat to the United States. ISIS was the top worry for just 28 percent of respondents, while 18 percent listed Russia as the greatest threat.
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The Trump administration has warned North Korea of potential military action in recent weeks, in light of its recent testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles which have the potential to hit targets in Alaska. Despite the Trump administration’s threat of responding militarily, however, the poll shows 59 percent of Americans believe diplomacy would be the wisest way to engage with North Korea. Independents and Democrats strongly favored a diplomatic approach (65 percent and 76 percent, respectively) while more than half of Republican respondents urged military action.
In recent weeks President Donald Trump has backed off threats to mount a “very severe” response to North Korea’s recent actions, focusing on urging China to impose sanctions on the country. But U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has said North Korea is “quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution.”
Meanhwile, analysts have said that a U.S. military strike against North Korea would likely do little to damage the country’s arsenal, and a North Korean response to a U.S. strike could trigger “the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes” according to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
Separately on Tuesday, a Washington Post-ABC News found that 63 percent had little to no confidence in President Trump to handle a conflict with North Korea.
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