Bomb Iran (Rick Santorum) versus withdraw from the world (Ron Paul)

The most important political effect of Iowa is that the day before the vote, Romney was not supported by 75 percent of Republicans, and the day after the vote, Romney was not supported by 75 percent of Republicans. Now watch the Romney negative-attack armada focus on slaughtering Santorum while a very different and important debate begins between Santorum and Ron Paul about security.

Listening to Rick Santorum, one imagines he would lead America to more war, very quickly. Santorum speaks loudly, carries a big stick and speaks with a trigger-happy enthusiasm common to neoconservatives. The winds of war blow from Santorum's lips with an almost casual air of breathless excitement that virtually guarantees more war if Santorum is elected president.

Listening to Ron Paul, by contrast, there is an isolationism that worries almost all leading national-security strategists, from conventional liberals to conventional conservatives. While Santorum gives the impression he would jump to war quickly, Paul gives the impression he would never wage war under any circumstance.

The Santorum-Paul security debate will be one of the high points of upcoming presidential debates, for sure.

What is troubling about Republicans is that the rightward pressures of the campaign are driving almost all GOP candidates to take positions on national security that sound like ill-considered war drums, rather than serious national-security strategies.

The haste to attack President Obama is driving Republican candidates further and further to the right, and further and further toward the winds of war in ways that would be very dangerous to America and the world if one of these candidates becomes commander in chief.

One need not go as far as Ron Paul to be very concerned about GOP candidates who treat talk of war like talking points of campaign spin.