Less than three months after Vladimir Putin was cast as a pariah over Syria at the last big meeting of world leaders, the Russian president has glimpsed a chance to turn the tables on Barack Obama.
The U.S. president’s dilemma over a military response to an alleged poison gas attack in Syria means Obama is the one who is under more pressure going into a G20 summit in St Petersburg on Thursday and Friday.
Obama stepped back from the brink on Saturday, delaying any imminent strike to seek approval from the U.S. Congress.
Yet at a G8 summit in Northern Ireland in June, Putin was isolated over his backing for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and scowled his way through talks with Obama, who later likened him to a “bored kid in the back of the classroom”.
Putin has ignored the jibe and stood his ground over Assad, dismissing Obama’s allegations that Syrian government forces carried out a chemical weapons attack on August 21.
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