It happens everyday, but not least in the highest reaches of government. In the highest reaches of government, people are quick to clean their hands of any potential wrong doing with a turn of phrase. The matter does not have to be complicated. If I am a diplomat and I say that we don’t like X, and if you do Y, we will do Z, this only constitutes a threat if the other side does not like Z and it is not to your advantage that they do Y. But if you say it like that, your hands are washed of whatever wrong was done with Y, and if you do Z given Y, you can effectively establish trust – all under the guise of whatever protection Z feigns to provide (e.g. xyz=(Ukraine,Syria,Economy).
Matters are not as cut and dried as national broadcasts would like, and in relations, both domestic and foreign, such implicit agreements are the norm rather than the exception. Still I cannot but beg to maintain that if there is to be integrity to the system – and if our leaders are to know the first as well as the last thing as to what is going on – then we need a system of coordination which is forthright and does not save face for the sake of future votes, protecting against future spin, and living in a reality of appearances which cannot be sustained given a more intelligent populous.