Younger generations hold more liberal values than older generations regarding U.S. foreign policy. In particular, they are more likely to favor multilateralism over unilateralism and the use of diplomacy – rather than relying on military strength — to ensure peace.

Two-thirds of Millennials (66%) say that relying too much on military force to defeat terrorism creates hatred that leads to more terrorism. A slim majority of Gen Xers (55%) agree with this sentiment, but less than half (46%) of Boomers agree and the number of Silents who share this view is 41%. A plurality of Silents (45%) believe that using overwhelming force is the best way to defeat terrorism and 43% of Boomers share that view.

There are similar divisions between Millennials and Silents on other foreign policy and national security issues. More than six-in-ten Millennials (63%) believe that the U.S. should take the interests of allies into account even if it means making compromises in foreign policy. Four-in-ten Silents share that view. Conversely, 44% of Silents believe the U.S. should follow its own interests even when allies strongly disagree; just 29% of Millennials agree.

Two-thirds of Millennials say that the best way to ensure peace is through good diplomacy. In addition, more than six-in-ten (62%) of Millennials say that it is acceptable for an individual to refuse to fight in a war that he or she believes is morally wrong; just over one third of Silents share this view. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.