Britain's Impotence over Hostage Sailors

Did you know that the British sailors recently abducted by Iran were under the protection of an escorting ship from the British Royal Navy — but it was ordered to “stand down” rather than defend the sailors?
From historian Arthur Herman’s article on the subject in today’s New York Post:

The latest report is that the Britons were ready to fight off their abductors. Certainly their escorting ship, HMS Cornwall, could have blown the Iranian naval vessel out of the water. However, at the last minute the British Ministry of Defense ordered the Cornwall not to fire, and her captain and crew were forced to watch their shipmates led away into captivity.

Herman explains how this decision reflects a larger pattern of pacifism by the British, including recent (steep) cuts to the budget for the Royal Navy.
Soon, all Britain will have left, with which to defend its sailors, is Tony Blair’s withering consternation.