The Obama administration has declined to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, though it has richly earned such recognition. President Obama doesn’t want to do anything to alienate his putative friends in Islamic Republic of Iran. His putative friends, however, continue to harass American forces in the Gulf and to take actions that humiliate the United States. As his putative friends express their contempt for him, President Obama pays them no nevermind.
The New York Observer notes in an excellent editorial that in three separate incidents last week Iranian fast boats buzzed our warships in international waters in the Strait of Hormuz. “In one of the encounters,” the editorial observes, “an American captain found it necessary to fire warning shots from his ship’s 50-caliber gun to warn off the fast-approach Iranian craft. That is not something an American commanding officer does without severe concerns about navigational safety or possible attack.”
What is a subordinate of the Commander in Chief to say? General Joseph Votel is the Commander of Centcom. Asked about recent incidents in the Gulf at a press conference yesterday (video below), General Votel displays the constraints inherent in his position. He calls on Iran “to be the professional force that they claim to be.” He observes that “professional maritime forces don’t operate in that way.”
Do tell! I don’t want to be judgmental, but one might reasonably infer that the IRGC, answering directly to the Supreme Leader, is not operating as a professional maritime force.
“What we see with the Iranians is not particularly responsible. It’s provocative in some cases and it’s unsafe,” General Votel says. Harsh!
Taking a cue from the Commander in Chief, General Votel even instructs the regime in its own best interests: “What I see is this is principally the regime leadership trying to exert their influence and authority in the region, and they are trying to do it in provocative ways that are unsafe, unprofessional, and really, I think, work against their objectives in the long term here.”
Hey, it’s not just the Islamic Republic of Iran that is humiliating the United States. President Obama has made his own contribution, and he continues to do so.