Pravda did a nice job yesterday with a short piece on Russia throwing its support to the West, in regards to possible sanctions against Iran for their newly discovered nuclear facility.
Actually, it's not newly discovered, which is where the behind-the-scenes stage setting begins. One must always consider timing in announcements and headlines, whether they involve uncovered terrorist plots in downtown Dallas or uncovered nuclear facilities beneath a mountain in Iran. Recall a couple of weeks ago, when the big deal in the news was that President Obama was scrapping the missile defense in Eastern Europe. This came as a shock to most observers, experts who were unable to fathom why he would unilaterally remove a major thorn from the big bear's paw. Surely, there must be something in return from Russia, mustn't there?
As the hours and days went by, it quickly became apparent that all eyes were on what Russia would do to reciprocate, in spite of the rhetoric from both sides that there would be no quid pro quo. But in a staggering display of just how well-thought Obama's (and/or his team's) strategy can be, they played a several-year-old ace in the hole at the perfect time. Knowing for years that Iran had the undisclosed, clandestine facility, and knowing that Ahmadinejad would be at the U.N. in New York, Obama took the extraordinary step a couple of weeks ago to "unilaterally" stop the missile shield in Eastern Europe, which the Russians wanted more than just about anything. Then, to save the Russians the embarrassment of blatantly offering something in return, which they simply could not do and still appear to be as powerful as they like to appear, Obama dramatically revealed the presence of the facility when all the world's eyes were trained squarely on him, which in turn was quickly followed by Obama, Sarkozy, and Brown threatening sanctions against Iran (which could not actually be enacted without Russia's approval, an approval which would never come since Russia has resolutely stood against any such sanctions due to Russia's loss of revenue from building nuclear facilities in Iran), which in turn was immediately supported by Russia in light of the "newly disclosed facility" (which Russia likely knew of, and helped supply, all along).
The only question I have about the way these interactions play out is to what degree they are orchestrated beforehand, as opposed to each side taking leaps of faith that the other will know exactly what to do and when to do it. Did Obama's team communicate with Medvedev's (sorry - Putin's) team before Obama called off the missile shield, and offer to do so only if Russia would back the sanctions? And did Russia then say, "ok, we will back them, but ONLY if you provide reasonable cause for us to do so - say, for instance, the public disclosure of Iran's illegal facility under the mountain near Qom?" Or did Obama's team bring that up as part of the initial gambit? Or, as any Tom Clancy novel would have us believe, did a person on Obama's or Putin's/Medvedev's team simply know the counterpart on the other side so well, that all that needed to be done was for the first dancer to make a soaring leap and the rest of the ballet would gracefully, masterfully play out as it must?