The Not So Secret Letter

ist2_424502-secret-document.jpgIf you haven’t already heard, an anonymous source has leaked details of a ‘secret letter‘  Obama sent to President Medvedev last month, in which he offered to stop development of a controversial missile shield in Eastern Europe in return for Russia’s help resolving the Iranian nuclear threat. From the New York Times:

“It’s almost saying to them, put up or shut up,” said a senior administration source. “It’s not that the Russians get to say, ‘We’ll try and therefore you have to suspend.’ It says the threat has to go away.”

Details of the letter were first published in Kommersant, which attributes the intel to an unnamed Washington source. From the IHT‘s reporting:

“The letter states that resolution of the Iran problem would fully eliminate the need to base missile defense elements in Europe,” Kommersant reported. “Therefore, if Moscow and Washington enter talks with Iran with a united front, then it might be possible to forget about (the missile defense issue).”

Meanwhile, the AP details Russia’s formulaic response from an anonymous official: “Obama’s letter contained various proposals and assessments of the current situation…But the message did not contain any specific proposals or mutually binding initiatives.”

Considering that the proposal isn’t exactly new information–the global press has been reporting for weeks the possibility of a barter along these lines–what’s most intriguing here is the possibility of a rift within Obama’s politically diverse cabinet over its developing Russia policy. Over at TPM–where a slightly paranoid blogger thinks the ubiquity of the NSA means there’s no such thing as anonymous sources any more–there’s a burgeoning discussion of the implications of the leak.