I am not a fan of Alexander Putin by any means. He is ex KGB. He is a dictator. He is a thug. There is little about him that makes him likable as a man. He has one trait in common with our President. He will grab power whenever and however he can.
Beyond that, Mr. Putin and our President are far different. Putin seldom speaks. He doesn't rant ala Khrushchev. He doesn't theorize like Gorbachev. He is the Russian version of Silent Cal.
While Mr. Putin says little, he loves to pose for pictures. But he poses for manly pictures. Let no one say that Putin is not a manly man. Standing in a dojo dressed in a gi, proving his martial arts training. Taking target practice, pistol in hand. Riding a horse, shirtless. Carrying a rifle, shirtless. Swimming with dolphins, shirtless. Even petting a cheetah. Shirt on for that.
But Putin loves his country. He believes that Russia has lost it's former glory and that it is his duty to restore it, by any means necessary. He mourns the decline of the USSR into Russia and independent countries that were once Soviet Republics. His only restraint was a powerful United States.
Mr. Putin has met with our President. He has talked with our President. He has taken the measure of our President. And he sees an opening to move his plans forward. His takeover of the Crimea was virtually unopposed, allowing him to threaten the rest of the Ukraine. That is an ongoing Russian effort.
America's blurred policy in the Middle East, has opened the door for his expanded efforts in Syria showing that he is willing to fill the gap and be the strongman in that area. It is working so well that even Bibi Netanyahu has visited him in Moscow. It has been said that he is dragging Russia into a "quagmire". I believe he has carefully calculated the "cost/benefits" of this adventure. Look at a map. He will have Iran, Iraq, and Syria in support. That is a pivotal nexus of the Middle East.
What we must fear is, where will he go next. Will he try for one of the Baltic States. Tigers are hungry beasts and seldom satisfied for long. They seek that next meal and will use tooth and claw to take it down. The only thing they fear is a bigger stronger tiger.