Does the Presidency make pacifists become hawkish?

I don’t think the United States has had a pacifist president since Carter. But it seems that once politicians get elected President, they become remarkably willing to strike and bomb terrorists, no matter their previous political leanings.

Is it the intelligence briefings - changing the way they see the world? Classified info making them realize the world is more dangerous than they thought?

Not having the ability to invade foreign countries before they become president?

I’d bet it’s a combination of realizing that attacking terrorists with military force is easy political hay to make- it pisses almost nobody off when you actually do it, and not doing it irritates quite a few.

Plus, I’d suspect that there’s probably some kind of briefing given that explains the history of the terrorism and previous attempts at diplomacy, military efforts, etc… I’d also bet that the ones that have clear and measurable results are the military ones, while the others are much more nebulous in terms of determining whether they worked or not.

Add that together, and using military force looks like a safe and effective option.

Carter wasn’t a pacifist. I would venture to say that no president has ever been a pacifist, nor will one ever be.

Maybe their supposed pacifism never existed. It was just a strawman accusation made by their opponent.

When somebody gets elected and fails to do the terrible things you expected would follow, you should consider the possibility that he or she didn’t change and that it was your expectations that were wrong. And then ideally you should learn from the experience and be more discerning in future political campaigns.

Pretty damn difficult to be CinC of the Armies and Navies of the nation being a “pacifist”, don’t you think?

A president is supposed to attack any country that attacks their country. Pacifists want to play babies, sit back and ask for peace. No. Fight back. Use military force when necessary. **The job of the military should be to defend the country at all costs. **

Because how many of the wars we were involved in post-WWII were actual defense of our country?

Oh, well, if it’s that simple, we should be good. It’s been a while since another country attacked the United States.

We were attacked on 9/11. Afghanistan was legitimate, Iraq was not. I hope you haven’t forgot that.

Jimmy Carter graduated from Annapolis, and was active duty for 6 years in the Navy. Not really seeing where he was a pacifist. As I recall, he wasn’t a war hawk like his opponents but that didn’t make him a pacifist.

Violence as the option of last resort doesn’t make one a pacifist.

You got one. And Afghanistan was legitimate. But legitimate =/= a good idea.

Because a Great Power like the United States is also responsible for the defence of her allies as well as ideally the maintenance of at least rudimentary humanitarian standards.

Gandhi was a pacifist who fought back a lot harder than Bush or any of the PNAC ever did. And he got better results from it, too.

He could’ve done a lot more to stop the Mullahs from keeping our countrymen hostages for 444 days. “Eagle Claw” was more like “Pigeon Shit”

And he was up all night doing the helicopter maintenance on that one, too.

I would argue that all of them were in defense of our national interests on some level.

The reality lies somewhere between the pacifist/isolationist bent of you and the OP and more hawkish “just let the Marines go kick ass” positions of people like GloryDays.

In the past, the US has adopted isolationist policies thinking that trouble abroad was just a “Europe problem”. We didn’t formally enter WWI and WWII until we were forced to.

Since WWII (specifically the invention of the atomic bomb) American foreign policy has largely been about trying to head off and isolate minor conflicts before they turn into another global war which could ultimately bring two nuclear armed countries into direct conflict.

To an extent, it is also a main reason why nearly every conflict since WWII has been a clear victory for one side or the other and just seem to simmer along half-heartedly for decades.

We have had one president whov was a member of a faith that made pacifism a main tenet. His name was Richard Milhous Nixon.

I’m not an isolationist OR a pacifist. I’m slightly more skeptical of any call for “necessary” military intervention outside our borders than most people, but I don’t believe we should NEVER go out of our borders militarily. I just think a lot of the post-WWII conflicts we were involved in were more a sop to rabid anti-communists and a hand out to the MIC than actual necessary interventions.

Afghanistan did not attack the US, they merely harbored those that did. A few well placed missiles on Taliban/alQaeda targets would have done just as much good as the wasteful war that Bush started in order to make money for Halliburton. Afghanistan always has been ungovernable and always will be, our attempts at nation building where no nation is possible to build have been a disaster. Iraq was an even worse disaster. Maybe the lesson is that strong leaders like Carter are those that don’t send in the troops at the slightest provocation.