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Vladimir Putin, master player
Vladimir Putin, master player

Let us now praise Vladimir Putin. Yes, Russia's president is a cold-hearted autocrat. And yes, he rules through a network of nasty oligarchs bent on squeezing profit from their country's oil riches. If he covets a piece of territory, he's liable to try to grab it. But he's not a madman. Putin has played an old-fashioned game of international brinkmanship masterfully — and so far, he's coming out ahead. The Russian president took Ukraine to the brink of war, but then, remarkably, he backed off. His hands-off attitude toward Ukraine's presidential election on Sunday, and his willingness to negotiate with Ukraine's newly elected Petro Poroshenko,...