Pete Buttigieg: Trump Is ‘Systematically Destroying American Alliances and American Values’
During an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg reacted to President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the northern part of Syria, a move that has paved the way for Turkey to invade the country and attack America’s Kurdish allies.
JAKE TAPPER (STATE OF THE UNION HOST): I want to start with President Trump’s move to withdraw U.S. troops from Northern Syria. You called the move shameful, but you have also said that the U.S. needs to — quote — “put an end to endless wars.”
Now, I understand you don’t like the way President Trump has done this, but if you were to pull troops out of Syria, how could you ensure U.S. allies, such as the Kurds, that they would be protected?
BUTTIGIEG: That’s just the point. Putting an end to endless war doesn’t mean ending American engagement around the world.
Often, it means making sure we do our part to stabilize or help keep the peace, so that full-blown conflicts don’t break out.
Look at what’s happened here. This isn’t even a strategy or a policy. It is the president systematically destroying American alliances and American values. And that makes America worse off.
Look, the 21st century is going to be filled with these kinds of messy, asymmetric conflicts, and we need to make sure that the U.S. is in a position to defend our interests and to live up to our obligations to our allies.
And, right now, we’re seeing the reverse. It is horrifying to see what is emerging not just in terms of what is being done to Kurds, but in terms of ISIS fighters now being released, exactly as we were warned would happen.
And we’re seeing the first reports of atrocities too. And what’s even more disturbing to me as a veteran is hearing from soldiers who feel that they have lost their honor over this, who feel that they’re unable to look in the eye allies who put their lives on the line to fight with us.
And if you take away a soldier’s honor, you might as well go after their body armor next. That’s what the commander in chief is doing right now.
TAPPER: So, under a President Buttigieg, U.S. service members would stay in Syria; is that right?
BUTTIGIEG: If that’s what’s needed in order to protect American interests and avoid a repeat of ISIS emerging, sure.
Think about it this way. It’s very clear that the way for us to get out of an open-ended, open conflict with ground troops forever in Afghanistan is to reposition and end up only with a very limited special operations and intelligence presence.
That’s exactly what we had in Syria. And the president is pulling it out, for no clear or good reason, in a way that is not going to serve American interests, especially not with ISIS fighters now being liberated as a consequence of these militias being betrayed.
Watch the clip above, via CNN.