Pompeo: Obama Chose to 'Underwrite and Appease'; 'We Have Chosen to Confront and Contain'

By Susan Jones | January 7, 2020 | 11:56am EST
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a news conference Tuesday morning that the drone-fired missile strike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani has "put Iran in a place that it has never been before."

Pompeo indicated that the missile strike is part of the U.S. "maximum pressure" campaign on Iran, and he compared the Trump administration's policy with that of the Obama administration:

Iran has had to make "very difficult choices," Pompeo said:

Choices about how to pay for and underwrite their proxy militias around the region, whether and how to build out their missile program. This is a flip from where we were eight years before. It's not political. The previous administrations made a different choice.

They chose to underwrite and appease. We have chosen to confront and contain. Those are different strategies. We believe ours is successful, and we ultimately believe it will be successful making Iran behave like a normal nation.

We'll deny them the capacity to build out their nuclear program and threaten not only Americans and our lives -- to keep Americans safe, which is our mission set -- ut also to create and enhance stability throughout the Middle East. We're confident that's the case.

Pompeo said he has never seen the Trump administration engage in any activity such as a military strike "without a thorough legal review," and he said he's confident that that was the case with the targeting of Soleimani.

A reporter asked if the drone strike was part of the "maximum pressure campaign" the U.S. has launched against Iran.

Pompeo indicated that it was: “It has a diplomatic component, it has had an economic component, and it has had a military component,” he said.

Pompeo noted that since May 2018, when the U.S. withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, the U.S. has built coalitions around the region with the Israelis, with the Gulf States and with the Europeans as well. 

We’ve diplomatically isolated the Iranian regime.

Second, economically, we've all seen the sanctions put in place, it's now over some thousand sanctions. We've watched the regime struggle to figure out how it was they're going to make it through 2020. They've got a budget that will fall short by a significant amount in 2020 as a direct result of the pressure that we've put on the regime.

And then you saw over not just this past week but over the last year, you've seen our security component to this. You've seen us reinforce allies in the region by ensuring that the Emirates and Saudis and all of the others were prepared for what might happen if Iran decided to make choices that were bad for the Iranian people.

And then you saw more tactically just these last few days the president's response when the Iranians made a bad decision to kill an American. We hope they won't make another bad decision just like that one.


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