Special to Foreign Policy

In a modern-day melding of the worldviews of Charles Lindbergh and Teddy Roosevelt, Americans in this election year want to step back from the world but carry a big stick, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

As the presidential primary election campaign winds down and the general election season nears, the American public views the U.S. role in the world with considerable apprehension and concern. Nearly half say the United States is a less powerful and important world leader than it was 10 years ago. A majority of Americans say it would be better if the United States just dealt with its own problems and let other countries deal with their own challenges as best they can.

At the same time, public support for increased defense spending has climbed to its highest level since a month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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