Student or Learner
Would you be kind enough to tell me whether the expression in bold bellow is widely used in your area?
"Mr. Obama offers the promise of a new, more inclusive American foreign policy, one freed from President Bush’s aggressive us-versus-them mind-set. Sadly, Mr. Medvedev and his power-broker-mentor Mr. Putin seem to be more interested in talking tough and drawing lines in the sand than in exploring Mr. Obama’s intentions. "
draw line in the sand (idiom) = to say that a particular idea or activity will not be supported or accepted, as in:
“The president has drawn a line in the sand, which means that if the foreign troops are not removed, they will be attacked”
(based on the idea of literally making a mark in sand to show someone they cannot move across it )
Thank you for your efforts.
Yes. Drawing a line in the sand is a well used and understood expression, which, as you say means, effectively, drawing a line in the sand to show someone else how far you are prepared to let them go - and absolutely no further.
To "cross" the imaginary line would be like "crossing the Rubicon" in Roman times.
point of no return: Definition from Answers.com
Crossing the Rubicon is a metaphor for deliberately proceeding past a point of no return. The phrase originates with Julius Caesar's invasion of Ancient Rome when, on January 10, 49 BC, he led his army across the Rubicon River in violation of law, hence making conflict inevitable. Therefore the term "the Rubicon" is used as a synonym to the "point of no return".
Hope this helps