Great article but it misses one important point. Syria hosts the only Russian naval base outside the Black Sea. When the US backed the removal of Gadhafi in Libya, they promised the Russians that their assets would not be touched. They lied. Russia lost most of it’s influence they had so painstakingly built up since 1976. The Bashar regime is the last openly friendly one in the region. Putin can’t afford to lose that country and especially the naval base if he wants to keep up his image as a strong man who will make Russia great again. The question is if Trump, who was Putin’s hope for a friendlier US will play along. If the pressure of the Russian investigation gets to much, he might just decide to drop his former crush.