Is a cry for war an acceptable political slogan? It has been used as one often, and it does make a good rallying point for the fearful masses.
It makes me think back to the days prior to the American Revolution. I can imagine the debate between two cousins. Samuel Adams would have been accusing John Adams of being too rational and pointing out that there was no negotiating with a crazy king. John would have been arguing for the use of diplomatic relations, and going to war only as a last resort.
The cry for war is not a new tactic, the speed of the cry reaching the world has accelerated and the scope has amplified. Crazy or not, I am sure that no king likes to be called names or given demands and ultimatums. I doubt that leaders of the 1700’s would have heard the words of every rhetoric shouting hot head with an agenda. Today it is easy to hear, record, and catalog all the rhetoric. It is also easy for leaders to use the rhetoric as an excuse for aggressive behavior under the pretense of defensive international policy.
While I believe most international leaders recognize the current rhetoric spewing coming from the mouths of presidential wannabes as nothing more than campaign politics, I suspect there are a great many civilians who hear real threats to their nations and their safety when US candidates call for tougher US foreign policies.
At some point the politicians and citizens of the United States need to recognize that while we may not always like or get along with our neighbors, we don’t have to go to war with them over it. There very well may reach a time when physical conflict cannot be avoided. First strike capability is a good tool in our defense arsenal, but flexing our muscles too often makes us a bully and not a world leader.