Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that there’s a larger strategy behind Trump’s order to kill Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani. He said the administration is “reestablishing deterrence” against adversary nations.
In a speech at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute, Pompeo said the context of Soleimani’s killing is the strategy of deterrence, and that previous administrations often reacted with insignificant responses when facing threats and violence from adversaries.
He said that weakened American deterrence and emboldened efforts to harm U.S. interests.
“President Trump and those of us in his national security team are reestablishing deterrence—real deterrence—against the Islamic Republic,” Pompeo said. “In strategic terms, deterrence simply means persuading the other party that the costs of a specific behavior exceed its benefits. It requires credibility; indeed, it depends on it. Your adversary must understand not only do you have the capacity to impose costs but that you are, in fact, willing to do so.”
Pompeo also said the United States had previously watched as Russia increased its aggression toward Ukraine, and as China built islands in the South China Sea and coerced American allies in the Indo-Pacific area.
The Trump administration has resumed lethal support for the Ukrainian military and ramped-up naval exercises in the South China Sea.
Pompeo is on a visit to the San Francisco Bay Area. He is expected to meet with Silicon Valley tech leaders this week.