Mar 27, 2010

Cunning, baffling, powerful

"If Mr. Obama overestimated his powers of persuasion in reaching quick agreement with the Russians, they misjudged how far they could get him to bend... The Russians calculated that Mr. Obama would be so eager to have a new treaty by the time he traveled to Oslo later that month to accept his Nobel Peace Prize that he would accept concessions, so they took a hard line.Mr. Obama held out.... Mr. Medvedev insisted on issuing a joint statement that would bind missile defense. Mr. Obama refused... Dmitri V. Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, said that the Kremlin thought Mr. Obama would back down out of eagerness to finish the treaty before coming international nuclear summit meetings. “They believed Obama could be put under pressure and concessions could be extracted from him,” Mr. Trenin said. “He needed the treaty more than the Russians in the short term.” Ultimately, Russia backed down."— NYT
Why do all these details — a preference for strategy over tactics, a much longer game than your opponents are expecting, unending patience, unbending will, and, finally, the desired result — seem so familiar? Because we have just seen the exact same thing in the healthcare fight.

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