On January 13th, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that killing General Qassem Soleimani is part of a broader US strategy to “deter” any and all US foes.
In his speech at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute, Pompeo made no mention of the threat of imminent attacks planned by Soleimani.
In response to a question he said that pre-empting such plots was the reason for American drone strike that killed Soleimani and others.
His speech, “The Restoration of Deterrence: The Iranian Example,” focused on what he called an administration strategy to establish “real deterrence” against Iran following earlier Republican and Democratic policies that encouraged Tehran’s “malign activity.”
Pompeo said there was “a bigger strategy” behind the killing of Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, Iran’s elite foreign espionage and paramilitary force.
“President Trump and those of us in his national security team are re-establishing deterrence – real deterrence ‒ against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said.
“Your adversary must understand not only that you have the capacity to impose cost but that you’re in fact willing to do so,” Pompeo said.
“America now enjoys the greatest position of strength regarding Iran we’ve ever been in,” Pompeo underlined. Which is dubious, since it is the first time since World War II that the US hasn’t responded to an attack on its military bases.
“The importance of deterrence isn’t confined to Iran,” Pompeo said. “In all cases, we must deter foes to defend freedom. That’s the whole point of President Trump’s work to make our military the strongest it’s ever been.”
And, indeed, Trump on January 13th said that it really didn’t matter if Soleimani actually posed any imminent threat. Which, was further, substantiated by US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper who said that he had seen no intelligence suggesting that the Quds Force commander was planning any actual attacks on US embassies.
He cited the resumption of lethal military aid to Ukraine for defence against Russia-backed separatists, Trump’s withdrawal from an arms control accord with Moscow and tests of a new US intermediate-range cruise missile.
Pompeo also pointed to increased US naval exercises in the South China Sea in response to China’s militarisation of disputed islands and Trump’s imposition of tariffs on Chinese imports as aspects of the administration’s deterrence strategy.
“We’re restoring credibility to deterrence,” he said.
Pompeo’s speech just followed a condemnation of US actions by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“I think if there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families,” Trudeau said in an interview with Global television.
He added that the international community had been “very, very clear about needing to have a non-nuclear Iran” but also in “managing the tensions in the region that are brought about by US actions as well”.
Previously, the US partially attempted to present its actions as “legal” in the international framework.
Currently, Washington’s “deterrence” policy is the following: strong states have the right of way, and a free to oppress those deemed as weaker states. This is a further step towards the ultimate dismantling of the international system, with other states also clearly beginning to realize that their own interest comes first, and since there is no international law being exerted, then why even attempt to follow it.
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