Summary: The US military is the sole remaining institution in America that retains the strong respect of the American people. But that might be fading fast, which could change the dynamics of US domestic politics and foreign policy in ways we can’t imagine.
The men who led us into the ill-fated War on Terror after 9/11 (source).
The US military is the only remaining institution in America which retains the strong support of the American people, with the police a distant second, according to Gallup’s 2016 Confidence in Institutions survey.
Military: 41% have a “great deal” of confidence in them, 32% have “quite a lot” of confidence in them.
Police: 25% have a “great deal” of confidence in them, 31% have “quite a lot” of confidence in them.
Support for the military — a “great deal” and “quite a lot” — has been in the 70’s since 9/11. This support for the military is a bit odd after America’s ignominious defeat in Vietnam plus 16 years of failed wars in the War on Terror. But that support is strong but not monolithic — and might crash in the coming years. Look at the results of a Gallup poll from April 24 – May 2.
American’s support for the military is highly polarized. Support by Democrats is 58% of that by Republicans. Support by the young (18 to 34) is 63% of that of those 55 and over. The stirring recruiting commercials might successfully drive enlistments, but have not built public support among young Americans.
Our increasing wars — our invasion of Syria and expanding participation in Africa’s conflicts (also see this) — rest upon the unconditional support Americans give the military. The trillion-dollar national security budget (most of which funds DoD and other military-related activities) also requires the public’s support.
The Boomers, the military’s most enthusiastic supporters, are now at their peak political influence. As they die off, the military’s support will fade. Reducing the power of the military industrial will have far-reaching effects on America.
For More Information
- Does America have the best military in the world?
- DoD is flush with cash, but running empty of ideas.
- While America’s infrastructure rots, we build the most expensive weapon ever.
- An arms race in hypersonic missiles: burning billions to accomplish nothing.