Putin’s payoff from his Syrian “peace keeping” could be enormous; namely, a breakup of NATO and the European Union and a sell out by the West of Ukraine on the grounds that it is not fulfilling the conditions of the Minsk 2 agreement (as if Russia is). If this happens, Putin has achieved his main goal–the end of Ukraine as a unitary state to demonstrate the risks of attempting to break free from Russia’s “sphere of influence.” The ultimate disgrace is that the West welcomed Putin as a partner in Syria on the basis of his promise to fight ISIS. Instead, Putin bombed the opponents of Assad, inflicting massive civilian casualties on them and contributing to the migration flow into Europe. ISIS did not seem to appear on his target list. For those who know Putin, this was no surprise.
go to Forbes.com