South Bend, Indiana Mayor and 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg came to the IU Auditorium Tuesday to discuss national security and foreign policy.
A packed auditorium with a wide array of ages gave the candidate a standing ovation as he came to the stage. They listened to him speak on the shifting eras and the hope for what the future holds.
“My campaign for president has been driven by the awareness that we face not just another presidential election but a transition from one era to another,” Buttigieg said.
Buttigieg was introduced by Congressman Lee Hamilton, the namesake for the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies alongside Sen. Richard Lugar. Hamilton he thinks the 2020 election is one of the most important elections in his lifetime.
In the speech, Buttigieg outlined the tasks the next president needs to accomplish: stopping endless war, reversing the rise of authoritarianism, updating the institutions that help us engage with the world, involving citizens across America in these processes and addressing climate change.
“Despite what we hear from this administration, and far too many Republicans in power, climate disruption is here,” Buttigieg said. “It is no longer a distant or theoretical issue, it is a clear and present threat.”
His discussion of foreign policies covered a wide range of topics, from wanting to stop engagement in the Middle East, rejoining the Iran nuclear deal and implementing a two-state solution with Israel and Palestine. He emphasized how the United States should only use force when left with no other alternative.
Buttigieg put an emphasis on making foreign policy decisions with the future in mind, making sure choices were made strategically. He said he won’t make policy decisions by tweet.
“The pattern is that decisions are made impulsively, erratically, emotionally, and politically with little regard for strategy and no preparation for their long-term consequences,” Buttigieg said in reference to the current administration.
While these are actions he would want to take as president, he called on Congress to take initiative with these issues as well.
“If members of our military can find the courage to deploy to a war zone, our members of Congress ought to be able to summon the courage to take tough votes on war and peace,” Buttigeig said.
On national security, he outlined his plans to improve mental healthcare for veterans, increase the emphasis on cyber defense and change trade policies used by the current administration.
At a press conference following the speech, he said Americans are now seeing the consequences of those policies. He said the Trump administration has no strategy, and the tariffs implemented on China serve no purpose other than to provoke them.
“We’re poking other countries in the eye without a plan,” he said. “The results are coming down on the back of farmers and American consumers.”
Throughout the speech he reiterated the world needs America, but only when it is at its best.
“I have great hope for the possibility this moment holds,” Buttigieg said.