politico.com; via AH on Facebook
14 top Putinologists weigh in.
[JB comment: Despite the wisdom expressed in the below comments, it's quite clear that no one in the "West" can fully agree on (knows?) what's going on re Russian military intervention in Syria, although think/Pentagon-tankers are aware that Russia does have a naval facility and airbase in Syria that provide its armed forces "direct" access to the Mediterranean space.
(On the other hand, we all know the famous "riddle" quotation of Churchill regarding the Third Rome.)
Same incomprehension (willing incomprehension?) of the current Russia-Syria situation could be said about pundits/officials in Russia itself -- an ignorance perhaps shared by the very president of that country, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.]
BTW, I dutifully re-read the 19th century author Gogol (as I have since the beginning of Russia-Ukraine crisis, in order to "understand" what is "happening" with Russia's relations with the world in our current era.)]