Obama told his fellow NATO leaders that he believed Rasmussen was the right man for the job, but that everyone needs to be convinced. Mr. Obama told the leaders that all countries need to be able voice their concerns.
With that, Turkish President Abdullah Gul voiced his concerns. This enabled Gul to avoid “feeling like a decision was already precooked," the source says. “This was critical because like other countries, if you’re put in a corner then you recede. If you feel like people are forcing you into a decision that has already been made you’ll rebel.”
Adds the source: “It’s important for small counties to feel that they have a voice. Obama gave this to Turkey.”
Rasmussen, Gul and Obama then had a private conversation.
At Saturday morning’s NATO session – a discussion largely about Afghanistan – the pressing need to finalize a decision about who would be the next secretary general was apparent. Following the morning session there were a round of private phone from leaders to Gul.
And Obama, Rasmussen and Gul had another conversation, for about an hour, according to Obama's national security adviser, Gen. Jim Jones (Ret.), and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.
When the three men returned to the main session, Jones told reporters, they had smiles on their faces, indicating that a deal of some sort had been clinched.
“This was a different style than what the leader are used to from a U.S. President," the non-Obama administration source said. "Obama was instrumental in making this happen. Obama eventually clenched the decision with his leadership – and because he listened to what people said.”
Please note: the outcome here was the same - the US got the NATO leader that they wanted. The crucial difference here was that instead of an angry ally, Turkey is now an ally who feels respected. It cost us nothing and it earned us some valuable good will that we will need later on (Turkey is the fulcrum of a lot of our foreign poicy needs and concerns).
This is what he promised us.