During a party scene in the movie “Monkey Business,” Groucho Marx spots a waiter carrying a drink, but the waiter tells him the drink is for the guest of honor. Groucho pulls out a dollar bill and says to the waiter: “See this?” The waiter responds by giving Groucho the drink, whereupon Groucho pulls the dollar away and says: “Come back in a half hour and I’ll give you another look at it.”
Substitute Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for Groucho, and economic sanctions against Iran for the dollar bill, and you get a pretty good sense of the farce being played out at the expense of President Obama — or, more precisely, the United States — these days.
Not long ago, around the time Obama made concessions to the Russians regarding missile defense in Europe, Medvedev “dangled the dollar,” making it sound as if Russia might support new sanctions against Iran. A bit later, he seemed to pour cold water on the idea, stating that such sanctions are typically counterproductive.
Now, with Medvedev scheduled to meet Obama in Singapore tomorrow, the Russian president is giving his American counterpart “another look” at sanctions. Last week he told a German magazine:
We wouldn’t want this to end with international sanctions, because sanctions, as a rule, take us in a very complex and dangerous direction. But if there is no movement forward, nobody is ruling out such a scenario.
And now a Russian newspaper has quoted Medvedev as saying that Russia is “100 percent ready” to back new sanctions.
All Medvedev needs is another free drink and another “half hour.”