Summit lets Obama, Putin size up the competition
President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin will use their meeting Monday, the first since Putin returned to Russia’s top job, to claim leverage in a mutually dependent but volatile relationship.
Obama needs Russia to help, or at least not hurt, U.S. foreign policy aims in the Mideast and Afghanistan. Putin needs the United States as a foil for his argument that Russia doesn’t get its due as a great power.
Obama and Putin are set to meet on the sidelines of the Group of 20 economic gathering in Mexico that will otherwise focus largely on the European economic crisis. Greece’s fate as part of the eurozone may be sealed as Obama and other world leaders meet, and the gathering is a natural forum for sideline discussions of the urgent crisis in Syria as well as diplomatic efforts to head off a confrontation with Iran.