- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg on Tuesday outlined a foreign policy vision that included a call to end “endless” wars, a push to combat what he described as creeping authoritarianism abroad and an acknowledgment that climate change should be part of a national security agenda.

Speaking at Indiana University, Mr. Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have fallen short in the foreign policy arena in recent years.

He said he didn’t want to lay out a full “Buttigieg doctrine” on foreign policy, but rather talk about how his administration would handle global issues.

“My central purpose is to argue that the world today needs America more than ever, but only if America can be at her best,” he said.

In laying out a vision on foreign policy, Mr. Buttigieg is taking on an issue that has gotten comparatively less attention in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary contest than others like health care and climate change, amid intraparty jockeying over expansive “Medicare for All” universal health care proposals and the “Green New Deal” to combat global warming.

He said that since the election of President Trump, “the United States hardly has a foreign policy at all.”

“And lest that seem like a partisan jab, I should acknowledge that for the better part of my lifetime, it has been difficult to identify a consistent foreign policy in the Democratic party, either,” the mayor said.

But Mr. Buttigieg said the Trump administration does show a “troubling” pattern of embracing and emboldening autocrats, while alienating “democracies and allies around the globe.”

And he said lawmakers can’t look to the past for answers.

“Democrats can no more turn the clock back to the 1990s than Republicans can return us to the 1950s, and we should not try,” he said.

Mr. Buttigieg said Congress has abdicated its responsibility on issues of war and peace, and that the time has come to repeal the post-9/11 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that has been used as a legal justification for more recent military activity, like the campaign against the Islamic State terrorist group.

“The time has come for Congress to repeal and replace that blank check on the use of force and ensure a robust debate on future operation[s],” he said. “We should never again send troops into conflict without a clear definition of their mission and an understanding of what comes after.”

Though Mr. Buttigieg said he wants to free the U.S. from getting ensnared in “endless” war, he would also support leaving “limited, focused, and specialized counterterrorism and intelligence missions” in countries like Afghanistan.

As an officer in the Navy Reserve, Mr. Buttigieg deployed to Afghanistan in 2014.

He also said preventing the spread of nuclear weapons is a major priority and that he would rejoin the Iran nuclear deal that was negotiated during President Obama’s administration.

“This agreement was concluded not to do Iran a favor, but because it is in our national security interest — just as a parallel policy of confronting Iran’s support for terrorism and abysmal human rights record reflects our values and security interests,” he said.

Mr. Buttigieg decried the rise of authoritarian leadership in countries like China and Russia, and mocked Mr. Trump’s cozy relationship with North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un.

“You will not see me exchanging love letters on White House letterhead with a brutal dictator who starves and murders his own people,” he said.

Mr. Buttigieg also said the United States’ legitimacy abroad depends on setting a good example at home.

“It’s hard to condemn crackdowns on a free press when our president calls our own news media the enemy of the people,” he said. “And it’s hard to stand for human rights abroad when we are turning away asylum seekers at our own borders.”

Mr. Buttigieg also called for prioritizing “climate security,” saying that rejoining the Paris climate accords is “just the beginning.”

“Despite what we hear from this administration and from far too many Republicans in positions of responsibility, climate disruption is here. It is no longer a distant or theoretical issue, it is a clear and present threat,” he said.

Mr. Buttigieg said his approach on the issue would include enacting a new carbon tax and pumping up spending on research and development in renewable energy, among other priorities.

He also said it’s time to take a closer look at the United States’ defense budget and said people should keep in mind that issues tied to globalization affect localities all across the country.

The 37-year-old Mr. Buttigieg also alluded to his age in the address, saying he picked the year 2054 as a time frame because it’s “the year in which I hope to retire after reaching the current age of the current president.”

He also complimented “New Zealand’s 38-year-old prime minister, Jacinda Ardern” for her response to the mosque shootings in her country earlier this year.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide