Washington (CNN) - Stay out.
That seems to increasingly be the message from Americans when it comes to U.S. involvement in global hotspots, such as the crisis in Ukraine and the bloody civil war in Syria.
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Forty-seven percent of people questioned in a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal national poll say the United States should be less active in foreign affairs, with 19% saying the country should be more active and three in ten saying the current level is just about right. That's a switch from September 2001, right after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when 37% said the United States should be more active and 14% said the country should be less active in world affairs, with 44% saying the current level was appropriate.
Other recent surveys also indicated a desire by many Americans to stay out of overseas conflicts. Sixty-two percent of people questioned last week in a USA Today/Pew Research Center poll said they were opposed to Washington sending arms and military supplies to Ukraine's government, as it deals with pro-Russian separatists.
By a 54%-39% margin, voters in a Quinnipiac University poll conducted late last month said it was more important for the U.S. "not to get too involved" in the Ukraine crisis rather than "take a firm stand against Russian actions."
And 61% questioned in a CBS News survey from late March said the United States doesn't have a responsibility to do something about the situation between Russia and Ukraine, with only around three in ten saying that Washington had a responsibility to get involved.
"American attitudes have changed since the days after the 9/11 attacks when an interventionist mindset was the norm," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan took care of that, reminding Americans that military actions often have unforeseen consequences."
While the polls indicate many Americans want less U.S. involvement in international affairs, they also suggest that the public's not happy with how President Barack Obama's been handling global hotspots, including the crisis in Ukraine.
Less than four in ten in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey say they approve of how the President's handling foreign policy, an all-time low for Obama in that poll. And according to the ABC News/Washington Post survey released Tuesday, only 34% of the public approves of how the President's dealing with the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, down eight points from early March.
Opposition to the Iraq War was a central theme in then-presidential candidate Obama's successful campaign for the White House in the 2008 election. In his recent week-long trip to Asia, the President defended his current strategy in dealing with international conflicts.
"For some reason, many who were proponents of what I consider to be a disastrous decision to go into Iraq haven't really learned the lesson of the last decade and they just keep playing the same note over and over again. Why? I don't know but my job as commander-in-chief is to look at what is going to advance our security interests over the long term. To keep our military in reserve for when we absolutely need it. There are going to be times where there are disasters and difficulties and challenges around the world and not all of those are going to be immediately solvable by us," Obama said at a news conference on Monday in the Philippines.
"That attitude mirrors a poll finding in late 2011, when more than seven in ten Americans said that American military force should only be used as a last resort, after economic and diplomatic efforts have failed," Holland notes. "The problem for Obama is that the public may be just as unhappy with the consequences of inaction as they would have been with any military action."