Hostile ships that had been harassing the U.S. Navy for years during the Obama administration have suddenly started giving American vessels a wide berth… and experts aren’t completely sure why.
So-called “fast boats” from Iran previously caused trouble for the American fleet in the Persian Gulf, and seemed to be testing the response of the U.S. forces. That tactic has now mysteriously stopped.
“The boats for at least two years would dart toward the U.S. vessels as they passed through the Persian Gulf, risking miscalculation, but haven’t done so for five months, U.S. military officials said,” reported the Wall Street Journal.
Military officials hinted that a change in American strategy and “readiness” may have caused Iran to re-think the taunting maneuvers.
“I hope it’s because we have messaged our readiness…and that it isn’t tolerable or how professional militaries operate,” said Army Gen. Joseph Votel, the man in charge of U.S. Central Command.
Some observers were much more willing to credit the change to firm policies put in place by President Donald Trump.
“What happened five months ago? In September, President Trump began applying pressure to Iran,” Frontpage journalist Daniel Greenfield reminded readers.
“There was the U.N. speech in which he declared, among other things, that, ‘Iran’s government must stop supporting terrorists, begin serving its own people, and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbors.’”
New York Times columnist Bret Stephens seemed to agree. “Under Obama, US tried to conciliate Iran, and they seized our sailors,” he posted on Twitter.
“US now gets tough on Iran, and Iran stops harassing our naval ships,” he continued. “Who’d a thunk it?”
(It was about the same time, in August, that Trump threatened to hit North Korea with “fire and fury” if it ever attacked the United States. It’s a good chance the mullahs in Tehran pricked up their ears at that, too.)
It is worth remembering that under President Barack Obama, the nation of Iran was able to not just harass the U.S. Navy, but actually capture and hold 10 American sailors in early 2016.
“The Iranians forced the sailors to remove their body armor, kneel, and place their hands behind their heads, and took video and pictures of the crew doing so. At Farsi Island, they interrogated and detained the sailors overnight,” reported Reuters.
An investigation into that incident found that commanders ignored the rules of engagement for protecting their ships, didn’t order their men to defend themselves, and handed over sensitive information, such as computer passwords, to the Iranians.
“Our actions on that day in January and this incident did not live up to our expectations of our Navy,” Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said about the Obama-era bungle.
The disgraceful photos of American military members with their hands behind their heads may be one of the most enduring images of Obama’s dismal presidency.
There’s a new sheriff in town, though. Trump may not be directly responsible for Iran re-thinking it’s harassment of the U.S. Navy, but there’s no doubt that other countries are viewing the U.S. military with renewed caution with a tough-talking occupant in the Oval Office.