As bloodless encounters go, Tuesday's face-off between a Russian surveillance plane and South Korean fighter jets was as vicious as they come.

South Korean officials said their F-15 fighters fired several hundred warning shots and flares as they intercepted a Russian A-50 surveillance plane they say entered territorial airspace claimed by Seoul. The Russian aircraft, which was on patrol with Chinese jets, then withdrew, and Moscow and Seoul have been arguing diplomatically since then over where fault might really lie.

The incident appears complex — Russia claims its aircraft remained in international airspace throughout the encounter, which occurred over the Sea of Japan. But what is clear is that Tuesday's incident showed America's two greatest strategic rivals working together to simultaneously target and divide U.S. allies. It's a situation that the Trump administration does not merely seem to lack a strategy for — it is frequently making matters worse.