The US seems to think so. Four Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps light attack vessels last Tuesday
carried out a “high-speed intercept,” with two of the vessels coming within 300 yards of the USS Nitze.
The US reacted without verve or élan. The best “a US Navy official” could say was that the incident was
“unsafe and unprofessional,” adding that the Iranian ships “created a dangerous, harassing situation that could have led to further escalation.”
And then the Nitze backed down and changed course away from the IRGC’s naval vessels. Plainly, the decision to escalate or not was given over entirely to Iran.
This display encouraged Iran’s next-day light attack vessels to approach within 200 yards of another US vessel, the USS Squall, which finally drew a warning shot response from the Squall.
This weakness only encourages Iran to push further. The present feinting is beginning to look an awful lot like preparation for an attack of the type carried out against the USS Cole, wherein a similar small boat, whose intention was misread, was allowed to make physical contact with the Cole, upon which the boat detonated the bomb it was carrying, disabling the Cole and killing 17 American sailors.
This is one of the inevitable outcomes of the Obama administration’s timidity toward Iran.