“[W]hether public opinion is a constraint on military action or an effect of threats strongly depends on the primary objective of the military operation and whether or not the threats to a state’s national interests are clear and tangible.”
People care about deaths in war, whether the killing of their own soldiers or the killing of foreign civilians, which affects their support for military action.
In this issue, each of the articles selected either takes a critical approach to its research question or incorporates a careful perspective on the various racial, ethnic, gender, or other identities at play in its analyses. The first article shows that support for military action decreases when civilian causalities increase. The second criticizes the shift from peacebuilding to stabilization and counterterrorism operations. The third reviews women's informal participation in the peace process in Myanmar, and broader implications from barriers to their formal participation. The fourth suggests a link between women's participation in government, reduced levels of corruption, and higher levels of peace. The fifth details strategies for leftist civil resistance movements to confront rightwing counter-protests. The results of this critical approach empower us to see beyond our assumptions, to be surprised by the results of our work, and to view events of the world with a dash of skepticism.
The United States has been fighting a war in Afghanistan Since 2001, costing thousands of lives and more than a trillion dollars. Today, many Americans are unaware of our continued presence in the country and much fewer understand why the U.S. is still there. Would a military draft raise people's awareness of wars fought by their country? How would this change war support in the U.S.?
In public opinion polling, question framing strongly influences people’s support for the use of military force.
A person’s acceptance of war and support for defense spending is most consistently influenced by his/her beliefs, values, and life experience.
By highlighting civilian casualties and breaches of international law, international organizations can influence U.S. public opinion on drone policy.
Reporting of disproportionate civilian casualties during the 2014 Gaza conflict lowered U.S. public opinion of Israel.
Using sunk costs to justify an ongoing war does not work—the U.S. public doesn’t support the ‘Don’t Let Them Die in Vain’ argument.