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From Vietnam to Iraq: American Elites' Views on the Use of Military Force

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

In this paper we present trends in US elites' opinions on the use of military force abroad in the period from the end of US military involvement in Vietnam in 1975 to 2004 during the 'war on terror.' With data from quadrennial surveys of US elites' foreign policy attitudes sponsored by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations since 1975, we ask whether elites have become more militaristic or whether such views have been a long term characteristic of US elites. We find support for the view of United States leaders as prone to the use of military might, even without the support of allies. Yet the findings also indicate that American elites have held this military view of reality for a long time.

Affiliations: 1: University at Albany, State University of New York, USA


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