Peter Buttigieg was born in 1982 and graduated with an A.B. from Harvard University in 2004 and a B.A. from Oxford in 2007. He served in the U.S. Navy as an intelligence officer from 2007 to 2017 and has been mayor of his native South Bend, Indiana from 2011 to the present.
Arms Trade Treaty
Buttigieg is expected to support ratifying the Arms Trade Treaty. However, he has stated that he values the principle of international oversight over arms exports.
Response to Amnesty International questionnaire, June 2019
“Arms sales are not simply a commercial transaction but an act of foreign policy. The US has a responsibility to ensure that what we sell doesn’t contribute to humanitarian crises and human rights abuses.
Potential arms transfers should be vetted and conditioned on recipients’ human rights records. This means applying the Leahy law to arms sales and greater scrutiny to sales in high-risk or conflict areas, and knowing how American weapons are used once they leave our shores. When conditions on the ground change, so should the conditions on our sales — which may mean a willingness to reject transfers that don’t reflect our values.
Transparency around potential transfers must also be improved, and affected stakeholders in both the US and the recipient country should be consulted for their views.
We need not be overly concerned that some partners will turn to others for their weapons on the basis of these minimal requirements: partners prefer to buy American goods for their quality, interoperability, and “total package” approach of training and maintenance. If our partners cannot abide by basic human rights standards, it’s better they find others to supply their arms. There’s scant evidence that more responsible arms transfers would damage the American economy or cost American jobs. We know from recent experience that the costs of not fully taking partner behavior into account are much higher."
Arms Sales to Saudi Coalition
Buttigieg explicitly supports ending arms sales and military support to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen. He opposes most forms of indirect assistance, with the exception of intelligence-sharing.
Response to Council on Foreign Relations questionnaire, July 30, 2019
“The United States must halt military support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen. The brutal war has brought the country to the verge of famine and killed tens of thousands of civilians. As president, I would suspend all arms sales to Saudi Arabia that could be used in the Yemen war, but also cut off the spare parts and maintenance for equipment needed to prolong that war. Ending our own involvement in the war in Yemen is just a first step. We need to increase our diplomatic efforts and work with our allies to end the conflict itself, which has generated the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and helped to spread extremism.
We must also reset our relationship with Saudi Arabia, so that our interests and values drive the relationship -- not the other way around. Our strongest alliances must be founded upon shared commitments to international law and human rights. We must be pragmatic about intelligence-sharing: totally stopping such cooperation could hinder our ability to detect and thwart threats emanating from Yemen, including from the regional al-Qaeda affiliate. But the Saudi government should not get a pass on the state-sponsored murder of an American resident abroad, nor should they be able to buy our silence on human rights abuses -- including killing civilians in Yemen and supporting extremist ideology across the Muslim world -- through purchases of US weapons.”
Firearms Export Reclassification
Buttigieg’s position on this issue is unknown. He supports banning assault-style weapons domestically but has not directly referenced their sale abroad.