In an opinion piece in the US Naval Institute’s News Blog, Retired US Navy Commander Daniel Dolan asserts that Russia and Iran harass and intercept the US military not because the US is weak, but because they want to influence the coming presidential election.
Indeed, Iranian ships frequently harass US Navy ships in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, and very recently a Russian Su-27 fighter jet carried out a very unsafe and unprofessional intercept of a US reconnaissance plane.
Critics of the Obama administration have been quick to blame these encounters on his perceived foreign policy weakness, both towards Iran via the Iran Deal and towards Russia with the less than hands on response to the 2014 illegal annexation of Crimea.
But as Dolan writes in his piece, “these actions against America’s forward-deployed aircraft and ships are not occurring because America is weak, but rather, it is because America’s enemies are attempting to set the conditions to weaken America post-November elections.”
According to Dolan, Russian intercepts of US planes are commonplace, the US returns the favor when Russian planes skirt the shores of Alaska, and Iranian vessels follow a similar paradigm.
- RAF/Ministry of Defense/Crown Copyright
But Dolan points to Russia’s alleged hacking of DNC servers to prove Russia’s desire for a Donald Trump victory in November.
Dolan says this is exactly what the Russian president wants. On the Iranian side, Dolan is sure that the Iranian hardliners want the Iran Nuclear Deal torn up, another position Trump has explicitly backed.
However, the Iran Deal provided a huge windfall of cash for Iran, and Eurasia Group Chairman and Iran expert Cliff Kupchan explicitly told Business Insider that the Iranians are “are not gonna walk away from that.”
Perhaps Dolan’s most cogent point is that the US military isn’t weak. Dolan says that the US shows the flag in the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf as a sign of strength, and that the US has indeed stepped up its presence in these region in response to the very same threats critics say Obama has backed down from.
- US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy M. Black
“While there is room to criticize US foreign policy, it is simply not true that US military presence around the world is weak,” writes Dolan.
Dolan says that Americans should be proud of the US’s military presence in troubled regions around the world, that the US acts with the professionalism and confidence every bit befitting the best fighting force the world has ever known.