President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin need one another, an uncomfortable truth for both the superpower leader facing a tough re-election and the newly elected Russian leader who is deeply suspicious of the United States.
The two men will use their meeting today, the first since Putin returned to Russia's top job, to claim leverage. Much of the rest of the Group of 20 economic meeting will be devoted to the European fiscal crisis.
The G-20 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. Russia is a linchpin in world efforts to resolve both crises, and to U.S. goals for the smooth shutdown of the war in Afghanistan.