Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump is “fully prepared” to unleash the American military against Turkey if necessary.
Pompeo was asked by a reporter during an interview if the Trump administration is prepared to fight Turkey.
“President Trump explicitly told President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan not to do this in that phone call. Nonetheless, he did it, and lives have been lost as a result. The punishment is economic sanctions that have last [sic] what, five, ten days? What would warrant now a military response from the U.S.?” the reporter asked.
“I never get out in front of the president’s decision about whether to take the awesome undertaking of using America’s military might to protect American interests but the world should know, we’ve done it before,” Pompeo said.
“We took strikes into Syria when chemical weapons were used. We did it to uphold the fundamental norm that chemical weapons can’t be used. The previous administration refused to enforce this basic decent human rights norm. We did it. And the world should know we will continue to do that. Where we see American interests at stake or fundamental norms around the world that need to be enforced, we’ll use all the powers that we have.”
Pompeo said economic and diplomatic powers are preferred by the Trump administration.
“We prefer peace to war,” he said. “But in the event that kinetic action, or military action is needed, you should know that President Trump is fully prepared to undertake that action.”
When asked if he trusts Erdogan, Pompeo said a number of their partners in NATO take positions the United States doesn’t agree with.
“We’re partners in a NATO alliance. It doesn’t mean that we always agree. You’ve seen NATO partners take a very different approach on the JCPOA, on the Iran nuclear deal. We think it’s terrible. Three of our closest friends chose a different path. It doesn’t mean that you break off a relationship or tear everything up.”
Pompeo also said that Asia is “much more dependent” on Middle Eastern oil than the United States because of America’s increasing production of oil.
“The United States dependence on crude oil products and other petroleum products transiting the Strait of Hormuz is different than it was back in the 1980s, that’s a fact,” he said.
“In fact, it’s also the case that as you laid out, Asia is much more dependent on this region than the United States is for its primary energy consumption needs. But America’s interests in the Middle East remain, our mission still remains there, we’ve just got an alteration in the nature of American interests in the region.”