As always, when new presidents move into the White House, much scrutiny is placed on the decisions made that influence the foreign and domestic policy of the United States. This trend has been quite evident during the Biden Administration, which has faced many diplomatic struggles ranging from the handling of the pandemic to the withdrawal from Afghanistan. For this edition of The Podium, we decided to ask Belmont Hill their views on United States foreign and domestic policy.
The first area examined was voting. There has been a lot of public debate about voting, be it who should vote, what restrictions should be placed on voting, or fraudulent elections. The first question asked to the school was if the voting age should be lowered by two years to 16. The result was a resounding “No” with almost 81% of respondents agreeing that the voting age should not be lowered. Additionally, members of The Podium explored voting rules in other countries such as Australia, where voting is mandatory. When asked to the school, a majority of 78% voted against mandatory voting. A large majority of those who answered yes to one of the questions on voting, said yes to both, suggesting that views on the importance of simply higher voting numbers are general, covering both a wide range of ages as well as voting requirements.
One of the greatest issues facing the US today comes in the realm of foreign affairs. Last August, after months of drawbacks of troops across the nation, the US military left Afghanistan nearly 20 years after the initial decision to move in. This was a hotly debated topic last summer. The question posed to the school allowed respondents to express their views on if the extraction was executed well, could have been executed better, or should not have been done at all. 75% of the BH community thought that the withdrawal should have happened but was executed poorly.
The other major foreign policy issue facing the US right now is Ukraine. Russia invaded their Western neighbor in late February. Ukraine has put up a stiff resistance with billions of dollars in aid from Western nations. Many political commentators and politicians have suggested removing Russian president Vladimir Putin. President Biden, a proponent of the idea, said “this man cannot remain in power”. The question of whether the US should attempt to instate a new Russian leader was then asked to the school. 70% of Belmont Hill respondents said no. The Podium also asked BH their opinion on whether Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was a part of a larger attempt to reestablish the Soviet Union. A slim majority of 58% believed that Putin aimed to remake the USSR. This was the closest margin on any poll in this edition. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has also reignited Americans’ fears about malicious nations abroad that target the US and the Western world at large. In the poll, respondents could select which nation they believed posed the greatest threat to the United States. There were two frontrunners in the results; those being China at 71% and Russia at 16%. Both of these are the obvious choices, with US fears of China mounting for the past decade due to their incredible economic rise and renewed fears in Russia after their Ukrainian invasion. The third most popular answer was North Korea, though it only received 3.5%. North Korea has been blatantly testing its nuclear capacity for the past few years. The nation was a focus of the foreign policy of the Trump Administration, with two summits held aiming to disarm North Korea, though talks eventually failed. Other responses to this question were all only from one respondent and ranged from Iran to Canada the US itself.
Overall, the poll helps to illustrate Belmont Hill’s and the nation’s views on a variety of American policies.