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US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo (R) speaks during a joint press conference with Philippines' Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jnr at the foreign affairs office in Manila on March 1, 2019. (TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
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Allies Worry Over U.S. Public Opinion

Walter Russell Mead

There is no more important question in world politics than this: Will U.S. public opinion continue to support an active and strategically focused foreign policy? During the Cold War and for 25 years after, there was rarely any doubt. While Americans argued—sometimes bitterly—over the country’s overseas priorities, there was a broad consensus in both parties that sustained engagement was necessary to protect U.S. interests.

That consensus is more fragile today. Questions about the reliability of American commitments keep the lights burning late in foreign and defense ministries around the world. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insists, as he said in Manila last week, that a Chinese attack on Philippine forces or territory in the South China Sea would activate Article 4 of the U.S.-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty. But will the American people honor the check that Mr. Pompeo has written on their behalf?

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal here

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