|Huffington Post: A Public Ready to Act Against Genocide, in Syria and Beyond
By Mark Penn and Michael Abramowitz, July 24, 2012
Conventional wisdom has it that our country is turning inward. But with dramatic global events that often unfold on the Internet, the public seems to have a heightened awareness of the risk of genocide and other kinds of mass atrocities — and want our leaders to act.
A new poll we worked on together suggests that Americans in fact care very much about preventing genocide in other countries, want our government to be actively engaged in stopping it and are willing to employ military force under certain conditions.
The findings emerge from a random telephone poll of 1,000 Americans conducted by Penn, Schoen, and Berland for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. We wanted to gauge how Americans think about the prevention of genocide and other mass atrocities, an oft-neglected element of our foreign policy agenda.
At its core, our new poll shows that Americans are both idealistic and realistic when it comes to preventing genocide.
Americans believe genocide is a clear threat today and that we can do something about it: More than 90 percent of the people we polled say they believe that genocide is not just a phenomenon of the past and could occur today, and two thirds believe it is preventable. They do not see such atrocities just as part of ancient feuding between peoples that we cannot do anything about — that kind of thinking has precluded effective action in the past. They see genocide as a tool used by political leaders to accomplish political goals.