Magazine Article - War on the Rocks

How Americans Feel about Going to (Nuclear) War

  • Christopher Preble
| Aug. 15, 2017

Two years ago, long before a U.S. president threatened to rain “fire and fury like the world has never seen” on North Korea (channeling, perhaps unwittingly, Harry Truman), Scott D. Sagan and Benjamin A. Valentino conducted a clever survey experiment to test Americans’ attitudes on the use of nuclear weapons. They summarize their findings in the current issue of International Security.

Those expecting the public to constrain President Donald Trump’s bellicose impulses cannot be reassured by these findings. They are merely the latest reminder that the median American voter can be quite hawkish when it comes to the use of force. This includes an inclination to support military action that is likely to result in large numbers of civilian casualties.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Preble, Christopher. “How Americans Feel about Going to (Nuclear) War.” War on the Rocks, August 15, 2017.

The Author


Scott Sagan