Guest op-ed from Steve Warnstadt, a former state senator and brigadier general
Recent events in the Middle East have one thing crystal clear: our country desperately needs a steady hand as the commander in chief. That’s the main reason I decided to support Pete Buttigieg.
In addition to the foreign policy he has articulated, Buttigieg’s response to recent events has demonstrated the most essential characteristic in a commander in chief: judgment. He knows that a president must have clear objectives, act in ways that meet those objectives, and anticipate consequences before acting.
He has also made clear that the primary responsibility of any commander in chief is to keep Americans safe. As a veteran, he intimately understands that those who wear the uniform bear the consequences of decisions made in comfort from time zones away. He knows what it’s like to trust people with your life, and he won’t send troops into conflict without exhausting other alternatives, or without a clearly defined mission.
I served in the Army (active and National Guard) for 30 years, with assignments ranging from an infantry battalion intelligence officer in Operation Desert Storm to being a senior NATO advisor in Kosovo, before retiring as a brigadier general.
I believe that Pete Buttigieg’s critical thinking, steady demeanor, and judgment all matter. I can also attest that, as he said in a foreign policy address in May, “The world needs the best of America right now.” Whether it is building international action to address the climate crisis, supporting those who seek freedom while credibly deterring the forces of authoritarianism, or overcoming the violent elements of ethnic nationalism and religious extremism, the world needs an America that lives its values.
This is why I didn’t hesitate when I was invited to join more than 200 foreign policy and national security professionals from across the country to publicly endorse Pete Buttigieg for president. They include people like former Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning, former National Security Advisor Anthony Lake, former deputy CIA director David Cohen, former National Security Council deputy legal advisor Tess Bridgeman and former Pentagon spokesman Doug Wilson, among others.
They are experienced men and women from all walks of life and from all parts of the country who have served around the globe, in conflict zones and high risk environments. Men and women who have dedicated their lives to making America and the world better. We have all concluded that Pete Buttigieg best understands the impact of global change, and how to involve us all in shaping strategies that make will make that change work for us and not against us.
We face a situation filled with risk, danger, and uncertainty, but also one of opportunity.
In his commitment to do whatever it takes to keep America safe and secure, in his understanding the importance of long term planning and building coalitions, in his calls to end endless war, and in his response to the call to serve his country in uniform, it’s clear to me and to many others who have also responded to that call that Pete Buttigieg is ready to serve as our commander in chief.
By Steve Warnstadt, a former state senator and brigadier general