Survey concludes US must do better job of promoting interests abroad

Survey concludes US must do better job of promoting interests abroad
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A majority of registered voters say the United States must do a better job of promoting the nation’s interests at international organizations like the United Nations, according to a new survey released Thursday.

The survey shows that 76 percent of respondents want U.S. leaders to focus on policies that help Americans while a similar majority — 75 percent — say the United States must remain part of the U.N. and other international groups to protect against policies that could cost manufacturing jobs here, according to the data compiled by Morning Consult.

“The American people expect leadership that protects American values and interests overseas, especially at international bodies like the United Nations,” said Linda Dempsey, vice president of international economic affairs at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

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“It is critical that the United States remains active in world affairs, addresses today’s pressing problems and promotes America’s interests and competitiveness abroad,” Dempsey said.

The U.N. has been the target of criticism from President Trump, who has said the international body needs to be reformed, and has called the U.S. share of the budget “unfair.” 

The U.S. pays the biggest slice of the U.N.’s $5.4 billion core and peacekeeping budgets.

But Trump's fiscal year 2018 budget proposal, which was released on Tuesday, slashes $19 billion from U.N. funding, including a $1 billion cut to peacekeeping, a move one spokesman said would cripple the organization.

Many survey respondents seem to share a similar view.

The survey showed that 60 percent of voters say international organizations like the U.N. play a necessary role in the world but are in need of reform.

The survey showed that 75 percent think the U.N. is in need of major (27 percent) and minor (31 percent) changes.

And a majority of voters — 63 percent — also believe the United States too often is taken advantage of in world affairs.

"America’s diplomats and government officials both in the administration and Congress must stand up for manufacturing through smart engagement and leadership within these international organizations that holds them accountable and drives progress and reforms that make a difference," Dempsey said.

The survey found that 65 percent of voters want U.S. leaders to demand greater accountability at the United Nations and other international organizations to ensure their actions do not harm manufacturing jobs in the United States.

And 44 percent said that Congress and the Trump administration should exert more influence and oversight over mandates from the United Nations that may harm manufacturing jobs here.

Still voters say that global security should be the highest U.N. priority ahead of upholding international law and justice and fighting hunger, poverty and income inequality. 

In April, NAM launched a new group — the Engaging America’s Global Leadership (EAGL) Coalition — with 20 other trade associations to address a growing wave of activities at global institutions like the U.N. and the World Health Organization they say are undermining U.S. manufacturing and jobs.

The coalition argues that the international groups are developing trade and regulatory policies that fall outside of their core missions and are the responsibility of governments.

"EAGL and its members support transparent, well-run and mission-focused global institutions; yet, a growing number of initiatives in these institutions do not meet that standard and are harming manufacturing jobs and our global competitiveness,” Dempsey said. 

Problems with the institutions have been growing over the past five years with a recent ramp up during the past year, the coalition says.