What is disturbing about the Iranian piracy is that it establishes a warning of what we can come to expect when Iran is nuclear, and how organizations like the UN, the EU, and NATO will react. If a few Iranian terrorists in boats can paralyze an entire nation and the above agencies, think what a half-dozen Iranian nukes will do. This was the hour of Europe to step forward and show the world what it can do with sanctions, embargoes, and boycotts, and how such soft power is as effective as gunboats–and it is passing.
The incident also redefines “asset”. A European naval vessel, under current rules of engagement, seems to me more a liability, a floating diplomatic embarrassment waiting to happen. In this Orwellian logic, the British decision to mothball some of the ships now on duty in the Gulf makes sense: fewer chances that one will be challenged, humiliated, or attacked by Islamists.