In recent days, fast-boats of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have seized oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. This action has followed a series of other direct and indirect Iranian provocations, including attacks on shipping, Saudi oil infrastructure and U.S. assets in Iraq.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a pair of Chinese long-range bombers joined two of their Russian counterparts and one of the Kremlin’s command-and-control aircraft in conducting a deliberate provocation in the airspace over islands claimed by South Korea and Japan. An extraordinary three hundred warning shots were fired in two separate instances before the intruders departed the area.
Make no mistake: These are probing actions designed to test the readiness and resolve of the United States and its allies. As with any bully, a failure to demonstrate both will result in more aggression worldwide.