Well, we got our answer today:
Denting President Obama’s hopes for a powerful ally in his campaign to press Iran on its nuclear program, Russia’s foreign minister said Tuesday that threatening Tehran now with harsh new sanctions would be “counterproductive.”Man, how disappointing! There's more:
The minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, said after meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton here that diplomacy should be given a chance to work, particularly after a meeting in Geneva this month in which the Iranian government said it would allow United Nations inspectors to visit its clandestine nuclear enrichment site near the holy city of Qum.
“At the current stage, all forces should be thrown at supporting the negotiating process,” he said. “Threats, sanctions and threats of pressure in the current situation, we are convinced, would be counterproductive.”
Mr. Lavrov’s resistance was striking given that, just three weeks before, President Dmitri A. Medvedev said that “in some cases, sanctions are inevitable.” American officials had hailed that statement as a sign that Russia was finally coming around to the Obama administration’s view that Iran is best handled with diplomacy backed by a credible threat of sanctions.Show of hands here: how many of you saw this coming right down Pennsylvania Avenue?
It also came after the Obama administration announced that it would retool a European missile defense system fiercely opposed by Russia. That move was thought to have paid dividends for the White House when Mr. Medvedev appeared to throw his support behind Mr. Obama on Iran, though American officials say the Russian president was also likely to have been reacting to the disclosure of the secret nuclear site near Qum.
As our President would say: let me be clear. There's a reason why Theodore Roosevelt suggested the proper course is to speak softly and carry a big stick. Obama has done the opposite thus far. He's been proclaiming his administration's moral goodness everywhere he goes and has pretty much put the big stick aside. The Russians are an unsentimental lot. Seeing the stick laying on the ground, they have proceeded to shove it into a very personal and private place of the president. Perhaps he can paper over the wound with his Nobel Peace Prize or something.