As the U.S. has been distracted by unrest in Ukraine and the consequential tension with Russia, President Barack Obama is taking a hit from the American people on his handling of foreign policy. In a new WSJ/NBC poll, only 38 percent of Americans approve of Obama's foreign policy while 53 percent disapprove.
The numbers have been mostly influenced on the handling of the Ukrainian crisis, during which the Obama administration has exchanged rhetoric with Russia as they impose sanctions on top Russian officials and businesses. According to the IMF, the U.S. economic sanctions along with those imposed by the EU may have already had an impact on Russia as their economic growth has lowered. This strategy hasn't done much to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin or stop the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine from continuing to extend their control of the region.
Prior polls have shown that Americans do not want to get very involved in Ukraine and many of those who want a "firm stance" cannot place the country on a map.
This is not the first time the Obama administration has received backlash on public opinion regarding the idea of U.S. intervention in another country. There was significant outrage when the president proposed sending airstrikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in September after a sarin gas attack killed hundreds of Syrian civilians on August 21, 2013.
Though Americans disapprove of how Obama is handling Ukraine, they also want the U.S. to stay out of other countries' affairs. Only 19 percent of Americans want the U.S. more active in the world stage, 30 percent want it to remain at its current level of involvement, and 47 percent want the U.S. less active.
This is part of a larger trend of discontent, with 63 percent of Americans saying the country is going in the wrong direction and a majority feeling the system is "stacked against" them.