What happened
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday warned Iran to stop “provocations” against the U.S. after five armed Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats threatened three American warships entering the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz. (AFP via Google)

What the commentators said
The Iranian boats turned away just in time to avoid being blown to bits, said The Boston Globe in an editorial (free registration). But the incident was also a close call for the U.S. and the world. The last thing anyone needs is an avoidable, or accidental, military conflict in the gulf between the United States and Iran.

Tehran was bound to remind the world at some point that it is the most dangerous “mess” on the planet, said Robert Baer in Time.com. “And the Iranians chose Hormuz, the only real egress for Gulf oil, to remind us that they have their hand on the world's oil spigot.” Iran is determined to “turn back the clock” and end Western domination of the region, and, with oil prices in the stratosphere, it has chosen the perfect spot to “draw a line in the sand.”

“No doubt, Iran was trying to send a message to President Bush as he prepared for his first extended trip to the Middle East,” said the New York Post in an editorial (free registration). Bush has made no secret of his determination to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, but “the region is increasingly doubtful of America's willingness to confront Tehran.” The next time the Navy should blow the Iranians out of the water to send a response they’ll understand.