War has been a nearly constant feature of American life since 9/11. The ongoing dispute between Russia and Ukraine over the Crimean region has once again raised questions about the U.S. role in the world.

Some critics of the Obama administration, such as Senator John McCain, argue that the U.S. needs to demonstrate its strength in foreign policy. On March 6, the United States sent six F-15 fighter pilots to patrol the Baltic region; next week, another 12 F-16 fighters and 300 U.S. troops will be dispatched to Poland, while a naval destroyer will be sent to the Black Sea.

President Obama and many other domestic and international leaders have said that Russia violated international law through its intervention in Ukraine. Does this justify the use of American military forces? Young people comprise the vast majority of America’s armed forces, and people of color make up a larger percentage of active duty personnel compared with the general population.

According to the latest BYP memo, attitudes toward military conflict among young people reveal that in general, they support military conflict at slightly lower levels than the population as a whole. young people of color are considerably less supportive of military conflict than white youth. Compared with white youth, young Blacks and Latinos are much less supportive of using military force for the purposes of upholding international law, but young people of all racial groups are strongly opposed to the use of military to spread democracy abroad.


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