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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Foreign Policy: Experts and the Public

Foreign policy might not be the primary issue of the 2020 presidential election campaign, but Americans have clear ideas on the various threats facing the United States. Recent Pew Research Center surveys find that Americans are especially concerned about the spread of infectious diseases and are more likely than not to blame China for its role in the current COVID-19 pandemic.

But foreign policy experts have distinctly different perspectives. A September survey of 706 international relations scholars in the U.S. as part of the College of William & Mary’s Teaching, Research and International Policy (TRIP) poll found that their assessment of the current crises facing America and the world are often at odds with those of the U.S. general public.
These experts are less concerned about terrorism, more concerned about climate change and much more positive about China’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, even as they are harshly critical of the U.S. response. However, scholars and the American people do agree that U.S. policy should work to promote human rights in China, even at the expense of economic relations.