I learned from a news paper that the President said the country will take a position to “Lead from Behind” on internal conflict issue on a Middle East country in his speech. I also learned the phrase is the borrowing from a notable African-origin politician's biography, and that “Lead from Behind” is an antithesis to “Lead from Front.”
To me this expression sounds pretty illogical for logical English as a language, even though it’s a simile, because you do not push the trains usually with a locomotive fixed at the rear.
Although it is clear that he does not want to make positive involvement in internal matters of a Middle East country, I’m looking for the exact meaning of “Lead from behind” in this particular case.
Does it mean;
It (His country) will pull the wire from behind the scenes, or,
It will cooperate with but not enter, or
It will play second fiddle, or
It will sit on the fence?
Which is closer to as an interpretation of his remark? Can you give me exact meaning of his quote if you have something else?