A good intelligence officer, my early mentor Marine Colonel Raymond Fening once remarked, was one that when everyone’s attention was to the west, surveys his flank and rear.
While the American public’s attention was fixed firmly on the obstructionist tactics of the insurance industry/Republican Party inspired anti-competition, anti-public option movement; many wondered why President Obama was not at the forefront of last summers opposition to the ‘mad hatter’s tea party’.
At that time, our British allies, who had against much public uproar installed an early launch detection defense shield from which we could monitor hostile events from a Middle Eastern or South Asian emerging nuclear power, were irked by the sudden shift in the importance of these installations in the scheme of European defense strategy.
Plans to install similar defense shield systems in Poland and the Czech Republic, not only had the potential to put us on the path to an arms race with Russia, but would undermine our relations with our staunch British allies.
From the Russian perspective, the installation of NATO defense facilities in former Warsaw Pact nations was tantamount to their becoming members of NATO, a move that would put us on a cold-war footing with Russia.
In the ‘school yard rules’ of 21st Century international diplomacy, the Russians wanted something from us – détente on the former Warsaw Pact nations entry into NATO; and we wanted something from the Russians – détente on nuclear technology transfers to Iran, the issue of thousands of isotope enriching centrifuges being one of them.
The open secrets between US and Russian Intelligence Services included apprehension concerning the threat of an Israeli pre-emptive strike against the newly announced Iranian reprocessing facility.Something the Russians wanted Obama to caution the Israeli leader against entertaining.
Russian Leaders often see American presidents playing a game of international chess, that is, one slow deliberative move after another; American football.While they play a more fluid motion game akin to soccer.
Obama’s insistence that the Russians meet with the Israeli leader and express their concerns directly, showed that President Obama has a rather sound fluid motion game of his own – albeit of the school yard basketball variety.