More Contempt For the U.S.: Does Anyone Care?

Barack Obama is the weakest president since James Buchanan, when it comes to defending American interests. So our enemies, knowing his time in office is drawing to a close, waste no opportunity to demonstrate their contempt for him, and for us. Today a Russian fighter jet came within 10 feet of an American aircraft over the Black Sea:

Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis said the potentially dangerous incident, involving a Russian SU-27 jet and a US Navy P-8A Poseidon plane, lasted 19 minutes.

A US official told CNN’s Barbara Starr that the Russian plane came within 10 feet of the P-8 at one point. Davis added that the US plane was conducting routine operations in international airspace at the time.
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The US has long protested Russian intercepts of its aircraft; there have been several this year. On two separate occasions in April, Russian SU-27 fighters performed “barrel rolls” over American KC-135 planes flying above the Baltic Sea.

Russia is strong and America is weak. That is the message Vladimir Putin is sending to the Russian people and to international leaders. Don’t imagine that anyone fails to understand it.

Meanwhile, once-weak Iran, buoyed by tens of billions of dollars in cash as a result of Barack Obama’s purported nuclear deal, is also feeling its oats:

A U.S. Navy patrol coastal ship was harassed by seven Iranian vessels on Sunday and narrowly avoided colliding with one, in the latest in a string of incidents in the Persian Gulf.

Seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) fast in-shore attack craft (FIAC) approached USS Firebolt (PC-10) while it was operating in international waters in the central Persian Gulf on Sept. 4, a defense official told USNI News.

Three of the FIACs maneuvered close to Firebolt, mirroring the ship’s course and speed at a distance of about 500 yards for about eight minutes before leaving. Another FIAC then sped towards Firebolt and stopped directly in front of the ship, causing the Firebolt crew to maneuver to avoid a collision. The U.S. ship and Iranian FIAC came within 100 yards of one another, the defense official said.

These incidents happen, time after time. I assume Iranian military officials are trying to figure out whether there is any provocation that will lead to a meaningful response from the Obama administration.

During the incident, the Firebolt crew attempted radio communication three times to understand the Iranians’ intentions, but the FIAC crews never responded.

That always happens.

U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) called the interaction unsafe and unprofessional due to the lack of communication and harassment at close range, which increases the chance of collision, the defense official said.

Unfortunately, the terms “unsafe and unprofessional” don’t really apply. The reality is worse. As far as I can see, the Iranian boat crews are highly professional. And their buzzing of American ships is safe as long as our vessels respond as the Iranians want.

The incident this weekend follows recent harassments of guided-missile destroyer USS Nitze (DDG-94) on Aug. 23, as well as patrol coastal ships USS Tempest (PC-2) and USS Squall (PC-7) and destroyer USS Stout (DDG-55) on Aug. 24.

We wrote about those incidents. While we may care about them, it seems blindingly obvious that the Obama administration doesn’t. Nor, as best I can tell, do a large majority of Americans.

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