mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn bayles
Testing Testing
American Adversaries Test Trump

After a dangerous encounter between U.S. and Iranian vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, the Washington Post is picking up on a pattern of provocations from Tehran:  

Swift-moving Iranian vessels came dangerously close to a U.S. Navy surveillance ship in the Strait of Hormuz over the weekend, U.S. officials said Monday.

The apparent harassment of the USS Invincible on two occasions, on Thursday and Saturday, came amid Iranian state media reports that Iran had tested its newly acquired S-300 missile air defense system that is designed to intercept incoming missiles.

In addition, Fox News reported that Iran had test-fired a pair of ballistic missiles that destroyed a floating barge over the weekend, but that could not be independently confirmed. […]

Taken as a whole, the incidents form a pattern suggesting Tehran and Washington could be squaring off for a more direct confrontation. Trump came to office condemning the Obama administration for being what he characterized as weak on Iran, and he has vowed to be tougher. Iran seems to be testing whether Trump means what he says.

The Post is right to see a pattern here, but it is not limited to Iran. All around the world, from the Strait of Hormuz to the South China Sea and even in continental Europe, American opponents are testing the new President to see what he is made of.

On Monday, North Korea fired missiles into the sea, declaring the purpose was to practice for attacks on U.S. bases in Japan. The previous weekend, Iran stepped up its aggressive tactics against the U.S. Navy, perhaps to see whether Tehran was still “on notice” after the departure of Michael Flynn, the Administration’s most vocal Iran hawk, from the NSC.

Meanwhile, Russia continues to cause trouble in Eurasia, accusing the U.S. of meddling in Macedonia’s internal affairs and stirring up angry anti-American sentiment in the midst of its political crisis. And in Ukraine, Russia has periodically turned up the heat, both escalating the fighting on the front lines and helping to squeeze Ukraine economically by supporting the efforts of pro-Russian rebels to take over the assets of Ukrainian oligarchs. On top of all this, China is still playing the long game, prepping missile installations on its fake islands in the South China Sea and engaging in a succession of provocative maritime maneuvers to intimidate its neighbors.

Even as he battles the press and his predecessor at home, Trump faces growing pressure from overseas. Sensing disarray in Washington, American opponents around the world are taking the opportunity to probe for weaknesses. This is unlikely to end without at least one major international crisis.

Features Icon
Features
show comments
  • KremlinKryptonite

    Interestingly, they are likely to get erratic probes of them in return as Trump tests them.
    It’s similar to Nixon in 1972.
    Le Duc Tho was in Paris with Kissinger and decided to test the administration by raising hopes for a deal, and then dashing them all while NVA were ramping up attacks against South Vietnamese forces and withdrawing American forces.
    …. so, in response Nixon ordered the three-year suspension of bombing against the north be lifted and for the first time even the capital, Hanoi, was targeted.

    The North Vietnamese did not anticipate that, and it scared them into ending the war more than anything else.

    • Dhako

      war ended when America decided to capitulate and asked for a “decent interval” before the North Vietnamese could resume their march to take over south Vietnam. Hence, that was the whole genesis of the Paris deal, which meant, all Nixon-and-Kissinger were asking was a way for America to safe face and be given enough time to retreat before the North Vietnam take the war to its conclusion. Hence, all other things was a side-show and posturing for the US’s election-obsessed elites, who thought, that acting tough when even you are acting tough to hide your retreat was good enough for the public to buy the idea that, Nixon is standing tall against the North Vietnamese. Hence, Kissinger knew all along the end result of it, it was just a matter of arranging, politically, inside the belt-way, who is going to be “owning” the political back-clash of cutting-and-running media narrative that was bound to follow this major defeat. Which is the reason, the Democrats took the cup in that Media-driven narrative of who lost Vietnam, since, they were accused of cutting all military assistance to the North Vietnamese once Nixon was turfed out of office on the back of the Watergate.

      All in all, it was Nixon-and-Kissinger, who from 1969, was intend of running and capitulating this fight, provided they found a way to spin it, publicly, as well as some one who would carry the can, domestically, But, the 1972 bombing was essentially irrelevance to that over-all outcome, since it was basically smoke-and-mirror intended to gin up Nixon’s election prospect as well as “acting tough” in-order to hide the capitulating retreat that was already been accepted by Nixon’s administration. And, you can read that, from the Chinese archive, as well as from Russian’s archive, who will tell you exactly, what KIssinger have told the leaders of those states.

      • Proverbs1618

        Dhako’s back!!!! I thought we lost you man…. thank God you are here to give us your perspective. As a voice of official Chinese propaganda, you were sorely missed.

        • Dhako

          you folks are the laughing stock of the world, with your buffoon leader, who is essentially politically stooge at the best of times. Or financially beholden to others (like so much of a retained woman) at the worst of times. And yet, you have the cheek to talk about other’s people propaganda. Even, if on the other hand, your leader has nothing but baseless propaganda to safe his neck against the charge of being a “Manchurian candidate”, along the line of accusing (literally) his predecessor in office of committing crime. Sometimes, although, one knew that self-reflection was never the strong-suit of some of the American’s plebs, particularly those who are the usual Trump’s political groupies. But, coming into this sort of site, and seeing the level of blind-spot that is the size of mount Everest, in which folks like you are belaboring under it, one could really do nothing but to go away thinking that pity is what one feels for your lot. But, on the other hand, to notice how clueless you really are about the state of your country, genuinely gives one nothing but incentive to feel a contempt for the likes of you, who couldn’t understand the kind low farce your country has become in the eyes of the world.

          • RealityCheck

            Where are you from?

          • Proverbs1618

            Which is why all rich Chinese are busy sending their kids the hell out of China into the US. Gosh, you are just so smart.

          • Dhako

            the Rich Chinese are doing nothing but what US has in cheap abundance, which is basically, selling everything that is worth selling. Which is another reason, Mr Trump have sold his soul for Russian money. Furthermore, those Chinese are a bucket drop in comparison to oceans of teeming folks in China, who are making money over fist, and are content to stick around there. Moreover, now that we have established the fact, that your country has no higher vocation that to sell everything that is not nailed to the ground, as the easily biddable soul and political conviction of Mr Trump have demonstrated it, perhaps, you will take good care not sell to those rich Chinese what remains of your national honor, since, mighty dollar was always your national creed, regardless of the pious Christian sermons you regale yourself with it in most Sundays.

          • Proverbs1618

            See Dhako, you are making the most common mistake a propagandist can make. You seem to actually believe your own propaganda. Your ENEMY is supposed to believe your propaganda, you are NOT supposed to believe your propaganda. But I grow tired of reading your poor English. It’s been fun. Enjoy breathing in the fresh air that Chinese cities are famous for.

          • Dhako

            You still smarting the fact that your buffoon of a leader is beholden to some Russian’s agenda, that he is basically trying to bring everything that you allegedly thought was acceptable in your politics into disrepute just so that he can safe his neck from the crime of being a stooge for another nation. And, yet, you keep on circling around accusing others of being propagandists, when in fact, the whole of the White-House’s media outlet folks have been pressed-gang to keep feeding the “alternative reality” that is what Trump believes, to his gullible voters. And you have the temerity to talk about about indulging their own propaganda. Do you see now how absurd of a figure you cut when you argue this way, dear lad?

            All in all, I actually thought, the US couldn’t have sank this low farce of a political reality. But, now, I feel a sense of pity laced with contempt, that, a nation who thought themselves to be cut above the rest of the world (as that alleged claim of “exceptionalism hold) is now this state of affairs of seeing its entire national politics revolving around how to gin up an explanation of the latest crude lies their leader has seen enough reason to share with the world. And, you wanted to be taken seriously about how others are lacking something.

          • Proverbs1618

            You know how I feel now? Your delusions are funny.

      • Suzy Dixon

        Hmm, no sweetie. The war ended with an armistice and South Vietnam was still a country = American objective complete. Naturally, the Communists broke the deal less than two years later and just overran the south because they couldn’t beat America when it was there.
        (The most compelling reason why South Koreans still want American forces there).

        • Dhako

          Keep telling yourself that fiction if it makes the comprehensive defeat the US took it on the chin something you could swallow it easily, most night. However, the US, short of using the Nuclear war, or bleeding endlessly in the rice field of that country, had no choice but to cut-and-run, even, when a fictional narrative of the kind you are peddling here, were sold the plebs of the fly-over-country, who were doing the bleeding and the dying on a large scale, so that, 40 and odd years later they could tell their children this kind of lullaby you are comforting yourself with.

          • Suzy Dixon

            Okay, kiddo 🙂 whatever you say. It’s not like you could check yourself in two seconds with a simple timeline for high schoolers or anything

          • Dhako

            I am sorry, but history of the Vietnam conflict is known around the world. And the fiction they sell about it in America during the 4th of July knees-up will not cut it. Hence, see to it, to chance that sort of marinated fictions in which you are regurgitating around here in places likes Fox news or even Breitbart sort of alternative reality. But not to me, dear lad.

          • Unelected Leader

            Thanks Suzy. I wanted to double check myself. Our friend Dhako here is not well educated. Poor soul. North Vietnamese communists invade South Vietnam.
            US helps SVA
            1973 Ceasefire signed. Last US troops leave. South Vietnam still a country.
            1974 Communists break deal and resume attacks.
            1975 Saigon falls to Communists.

          • Dhako

            It’s really shocking to real the level of shoddy argument some folks in this site really gets to warm themselves with most days. In other words, it’s like seeing a blind man calling another man that he is suffering some sort of “visual impairment”. In other words, before you clutches dates that has no larger meaning other than end-point of already consummated reality, perhaps, you should ask, why the US wanted to leave the South-Vietnam in the first place, given that, to this day, the US is till in Germany, South-Korea, and in Japan?.

            Furthermore, why US agreed to leave , after they have given their “skin” in that game, not to say nothing about their own copious blood for it? And moreover, what do you think the North-Vietnamese insisted that the US should withdraw from the fight and go home so that they will settle the affairs of Vietnam as they see fit? Also, why would US agreed to it to do so, if fight was still something the US had it in her bones, and was willing to slug it out with the North Vietnamese.

            After all, I doubt it, that, the North Korea, could say with straight face that the US should withdraw from South Korea, and for good measure, I doubt it the US will accede to it. Given, that, in the case of North Korea, the US, was not defeated (although, they didn’t won either), while on the other hand, in South-Vietnam, all the US wanted was a”decent interval” before any hell that was on the cards could be allow to be let loose. Hence, I am sure you like to warm this fictions based on dates of when things happen.

            But those dates bespoke a painful reality for you. And that reality, is essentially one in which US was found wanting in that fight, even a reality in which US was forced to capitulate on the central thesis of the enemy, which was a complete evacuation of the US’s forces from South Vietnam, while, the timing was something that was “negotiable”. Hence, the genesis of the Paris peace talks. And, finally, you do not know your own history, genuinely affords me a window to understand as to the reason this buffoon of a leader you currently have in the White-House, he was elected.

          • Proverbs1618

            I like how your English grammar gets worse the more challenged you get.

          • Dhako

            I am not actually here to get others to be all prissy up tight grammar and what have you. But, rather to engage others with a modicum of discussion that has facts, and reason to back it up. However, it seems you would rather loiter around the marginalia of this sort of discussion along the line of passing comment about other’s grammar, instead of having something serious to contribute to the meat of the discussion. And perhaps, that says something about your intellectual deficiency of things that really matter as opposed to how finely turn phrase one could cobbled together, which is neither here nor there.

          • Proverbs1618

            Oh Dhako, all of this implies I take you seriously. I most certainly do not. You are like a chew toy that I play with until I get bored. Do you think anybody here actually believes a word you write?
            I’m just disappointed that China, with all those foreign exchange reserves, cannot hire a better propagandist then you.
            P.S. Ability to CLEARLY and CORRECTLY write in the language in which you are communicating is key to persuading people to adapt your point of view. Just because you are pretty terrible at something doesn’t mean it is not important.

          • Dhako

            Well, on the other hand, you are to me – shall we say – an specimen to ascertain the level of intellectual depth below zero in which the denizens of the Trump’s cult has actually sank to. In other words, you may think I am here to convince you of anything. But, actually no. For, I am running an experiment on the likes of you in determining the kind of folks who are liable to swallow the sort of cow’s manure your buffoon of a leader is selling to his voters.

            And you know what, you really brighten my days, since, by the looks of it, if the best and the brightest that are party to Trump’s political base are the likes of you, then China has nothing to worry about, And in fact it has everything to gain in having the likes of you blindly supporting such “deep thinker” by the name of Mr Trump.

            Hence, do you know why I am certain (as one can be of anything) that the US’s economical, political, and strategical decline, is not a brief interlude, but a permanent feature? Well, I just have to pay attention to what Trump gets up to do in most days he remain in office. And for good measure, I then have to watch (with nothing less than astonishment) how his “political groupies” are in lock-step with him, instead of correcting him.

            In other words, you are my confirmation of the depth that alleged “shining-city-on-a-Hill” had sank to already. And in the pursuit of that “live experiment” of taken notes of others intellectual conditions, I am willing to put up with the fact of you thinking that I am here to convince you of what you think is my propaganda.

          • Proverbs1618

            “A specimen”. Sorry stopped reading after the first error. Up your game.

          • Dhako

            You really do not have to read anything that I say. Provided you keep on sharing freely with the rest of this site, how you view the latest stupidity of your buffoon of a leader. And, most importantly, if you could force yourself to defend his daily action in here, with all manner of twist and contortion, then, my experimental Job will really be done.

            Since that will be enough of a measurement of the kind of folks we in China have to keep an eye on when it comes to guessing in advance the sort of moves your “hero” of a leader will make, since he doesn’t do anything that is not at bottom the concern of those who voted him into power. Or failing that, he doesn’t do anything that will not be to his financial interest, as his dalliance with the Russians seems to have demonstrated it. So, don’t mind about my poor grasp of the English grammar. But just keep verbalizing your take of what Mr Trump gets up to on a daily basis. And that will be enough for me, as it so happens.

          • Proverbs1618

            “You really do not have to read anything that I say.” I don’t read anything you say. I read it once, and since you never write anything new, why waste my time re-reading your poorly worded anti-Trump screeds. Like for example, I just read the first sentence here.

          • Unelected Leader

            It’s okay. You were factually incorrect, and now you’re embarrassed. I corrected you lol. Life will go on.

          • Dhako

            No, it just shows how clueless you really are about the genesis of how that war was ended.

      • Jim__L

        Didn’t subsequent attempts by the Chinese to take over Vietnam in the ’70s result in China being soundly thrashed?

    • We Chinese invaded Vietnam to steal some land in 1979, and they beat us – badl 🙁
      Lost 9,000 guys in 28 days.

      • KremlinKryptonite

        Haha. I know. But they made up for it in the next battle…Beijing, June 1989. Those kids didn’t stand a chance. Except “tank man” although he was never seen again.

  • D4x

    Did we miss the news that Venezuela hijacked a freighter full of fruitcakes? Besides Iran, North Korea, China, and, of course, Russia, who are the other “American opponents around the world…probing for weakness”?

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    New Presidents always get tested.

    • Andrew Allison

      Let’s hope this one is less of a pantywaist than his predecessor.

  • f1b0nacc1

    Lets hope that this round of ‘testing’ (which yes, does happen to new Presidents pretty regularly) doesn’t get as ugly as 1962….

  • ——————————

    Guys, why bother to argue with Dhako? He is like the petulant child who had his toy taken away and hits at the parent who took it away, thinking he can hurt them.
    Dhako knows that his paper tiger is hollow and fragile, and that it would be even more pathetic of a country than it is without the US. He also knows that Trump is a danger to their useless ‘Widget’ economy, so he lashes out.
    Just don’t respond to his posts and he may simply go away.

    We have culled many of the genetic best and brightest from around the world for the last few hundred years because this is the place to be. No one from another country can say anything about the US that bothers me because I understand that the one at the top always gets hit the most and the hardest by the inferior
    .
    We are the place everyone wants to be, and we are one who everyone else follows…nuff said….

    • f1b0nacc1

      But it is so much fun to poke at him and watch him flail about….

  • FriendlyGoat

    We must be under-using the weapon of Twitter.

  • Pait

    The deafening silence from the administration on Tehran, North Korea, and Wikileaks is accompanied by muscular inactivity.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2017 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service