Vladimir Putin Misses His Buddy

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Vladimir Putin is not one to engage in irrational exuberance. He knows Russia is a volatile place and things can get out of hand quickly. So before the current guard in Moscow gets too comfortable with the recent economic recovery, Putin had some words of warning about "ungrounded optimism".

'A money hunger can trigger a new downfall,' Putin said, asking ministers to improve the efficiency of budget spending instead of making 'mechanical' cuts that would reduce a stimulus package for the economy.

But Putin shouldn't have to fight this battle alone. This is the age of one world fighting global problems together as one. Nobody heads out there alone. We're on the buddy system now. So who is going to be there to help Putin pull through?

At his annual meeting with academics, think-tankers, and journalists, Putin barely mentioned Obama but "repeatedly expressed fondness for his friend 'George,' " says Cliff Kupchan, a Russia analyst at the Eurasia Group consultancy. "He clearly has a personal softness for George Bush," says Kupchan, who attended the meeting

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