A “hawk” is anyone who is pro-war; a “dove,” anyone who is anti-war. The characterization stops there, as if these perceptual-level symbols were enough to explain any differences in foreign policy.
According to this symbolism, there is no difference between someone who advocates military force to loot and enslave others, someone who advocates military force for humanitarian purposes, someone who advocates military force for the sake of democratic nation building, and someone who advocates military force to defend the citizens of his own country. They can all be classified as “hawks,” because they are all pro-war.
Who, then, is a dove? Is it anyone who opposes war on principle? Or is it anyone who is simply opposed to imperialist wars of aggression, but who would nevertheless go to war in defense of his own country? If you only support wars of self-defense, but are against all other forms of war, are you a hawk or a dove? The hawk-versus-dove symbolism doesn't tell you.
But in common parlance, a hawk is anyone who favors the use of military force, and a dove, anyone who opposes the use of military force. There are also positive and negative connotations associated with this terminology. The term "dove" suggests a peace lover who has everyone's best interests at heart, while the term "hawk" suggests a warmonger who has little regard for human life.
It is time to jettison these biased, anti-intellectual symbols in favor of a serious, conceptually based dialogue. The current one is for the birds.