Yesterday I posted “Barack Obama: Dangerous Transformation,” where I mentioned recent military provocations made against our military assets. Coincidentally, John Hinderaker at Powerline posted a related article: 

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.


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.

P-8 Poseidon credit:

P-8 Poseidon

The American planes mentioned are maritime patrol planes, not armed–as far as we know–for any kind of air-to-air combat. Slow-moving–compared to a top line fighter–and unable to maneuver effectively to dodge incoming missiles. In other words, sitting ducks should the Russians decide to fire a missile, or make a mistake in flying within ten feet. At jet speeds and altitudes, fractions of a second are the difference between aggressive harassment and two aircraft going down in flames.

In all of these incidents, one question stands unanswered: where are our fighter assets? We know the Russians are going to do potentially deadly aggressive intercepts, and we provide no fighter cover for our lumbering intelligence gathering aircraft? Wouldn’t it be grand for a Russian to suddenly and unexpectedly find an F-22 on his six while he toys with what he thought a helpless target? But as far as we know, that’s never happened, and the best the Pentagon pajama boys, under Barack Obama’s direction can manage is the Russians are behaving unsafely and unprofessionally.

In reality, they’re approaching our military assets in threatening, even attack, profiles, and our people are almost certainly ordered to do absolutely nothing but hope the Russians don’t intend to kill them, or are good enough pilots not to accidentally kill everyone involved. Letting enemies make runs at warplanes and warships without consequences is not brave, morally correct or intelligent. It gives our enemies the advantage if they intend to attack. They’ll get in the first shot, which in contemporary warfare may well be all that’s needed. It’s weakness that invites war and needlessly risks the lives of some of our most highly trained and dedicated military personnel.

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:

USS Firebolt credit:

USS Firebolt

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.

Hinderaker suggests the Iranians are trying to discover exactly what we will and will not do. Unfortunately, they figured that out years ago: zip. It’s likely the only reason they haven’t directly fired at our ships is they fear American captains might get annoyed enough to ignore their pajama boy orders and vaporize their little gunboats.

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.

Right. “Unsafe and unprofessional.” Somehow I don’t suspect the Iranians much care about appearing to be safe and professional to the agents of the Great Satan.

Once again, we know the Iranians are going to do this sort of thing. Where’s our air cover? Where are the F-18s to do a supersonic pass ten feet over the gunboats? Where are the Sea Cobras that should be accompanying every ship in the Persian Gulf?

I wonder: do the rules of engagement allow our people to shoot back under any circumstance, or are they expected to accept unlimited casualties, including the loss of ships and aircraft? Or would using defensive fire against threatening Iranians and Russians be unsafe and unprofessional too?