U.S. ma­jor­ity backs strikes on NKorea

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON: A ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans sup­port mil­i­tary ac­tion against North Korea if eco­nomic and diplo­matic ef­forts fail, ac­cord­ing to a Gallup poll re­leased Fri­day amid ris­ing ten­sion over Py­ongyang’s nu­clear weapons pro­gram and re­cent mis­sile launches.

The sur­vey of 1,022 U.S. adults last week found that 58 per­cent said they would fa­vor mil­i­tary ac­tion against North Korea if the United States can­not ac­com­plish its goals by more peace­ful means first.

Such sup­port, how­ever, was largely split along po­lit­i­cal party lines. Among Repub­li­can vot­ers, 82 per­cent would back mil­i­tary ac­tion com­pared with 37 per­cent among Demo­crat vot­ers.

Among po­lit­i­cal in­de­pen­dents, 56 per­cent backed such ac­tion.

“Half still think the sit­u­a­tion can be re­solved with sanc­tions and diplo­macy,” and the ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans doubt any U.S. mil­i­tary at­tack is im­mi­nent in the next six months, Gallup said.

The poll find­ings came as North Korea fired an­other mis­sile that flew over Ja­pan earlier Fri­day, ac­cord­ing to South Korean and Ja­panese of­fi­cials. “A ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans ap­pear ready to sup­port mil­i­tary ac­tion against that coun­try, at least as a last re­sort,” Gallup wrote in its re­port.

Half still think the cri­sis can be re­solved with sanc­tions, diplo­macy

But, it added “Amer­i­cans still think North Korea is bluff­ing.”

The find­ings were a shift from 2003, when Gallup last asked about U.S. sup­port for mil­i­tary ac­tion against Py­ongyang and 47 per­cent said they backed it, ac­cord­ing to Gallup. Most of the shift was seen among Repub­li­cans and in­de­pen­dents, it added.

“A sharp in­crease in sup­port among Repub­li­cans – pos­si­bly mir­ror­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s prom­ise to re­spond with “fire and fury” to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s threats – ex­plains much of this,” Gallup said. In Au­gust, Trump warned North Korea it would face “fire and fury” if it threat­ened the United States.

The sur­vey, con­ducted by tele­phone in­ter­views be­tween Sept. 6 and Sept. 10, has a sam­pling er­ror of plus or mi­nus 4 per­cent­age points.

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