How far will the West be pushed? For decades, Iran has embraced a strategy of carefully feeling its oats, prodding at the West, testing our mettle in inches. Now, like Germany in 1938, Iran is beginning to realize that the West will do nothing to stop it. Crippled by a pathological aversion to war, America and Britain sit by silently as Iran develops nuclear weapons, fosters terrorism in Iraq and targets Western interests for total annihilation.
Iran's latest test for the West is its abduction of 15 members of the British Royal Navy. Iran feebly claims those sailors were found in Iranian waters. In truth, Iranian forces crossed into Iraqi waters to take those British sailors and marines prisoner. The abduction was no innocent mistake by the Iranians -- it was planned in advance, designed to achieve the release of five Iranian Quds Force members arrested in northern Iraq, designed to place pressure on the West more generally.
Hours before the U.N. was to decide on the issue of harsher sanctions against Iran, the Iranians seized the British. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was scheduled to speak to the U.N. regarding the sanctions, cancelled his appearance.
The Western response has been tepid. Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain says British efforts to obtain the sailors' release will enter a "different phase" if current negotiations fail. That "different phase" would include releasing evidence that the Iranians had entered Iraqi territory to grab the British sailors. That "different phase" would not, however, entail expelling Iranian diplomats from Britain or contemplating military action. In other words, Britain will act miffed, but not miffed enough to secure the release of their troops.
Which is precisely the course the Brits ought to take, according to the international left. Like Agamemnon, the international left is willing and eager to sacrifice countless military Iphigenias to appease radical Islamist gods. Useful idiots like former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray are coming out of the woodwork to blame coalition forces for Iran's hostility. "In international law the Iranian government was not out of order in detaining foreign military personnel in waters to which they have a legitimate claim," Murray told Al Jazeera. "For the Royal Navy to be interdicting shipping within the 12 mile limit of territorial seas, in a region they know full well is subject to maritime boundary dispute, is unnecessarily provocative." Loudmouth ignoramus bovine Rosie O'Donnell has likened Iran's seizure to the Gulf of Tonkin incident, implying that coalition forces led by America would use the seizure as a manufactured excuse to go after Iran.