John Batchelor explains the grand strategy in the second part of his discussion last night with Russia expert Stephen F. Cohen during the John Batchelor Show.
In the first part Dr Cohen tackles the mystery of why Washington is always mystified and surprised by Russian actions on the world stage. (For an impolite version of the explanation see my post, Why are so many shocked by Russia's announcement of withdrawal from Syria?)
Both parts of the discussion are available in the JBS podcast titled What Putin Risks in Syria, which also includes news about continuing efforts by the Obama Administration and its allied regimes to wreck Syria as much as possible.
The discussion is a keeper. Brace yourself, if this is your introduction to the way Putin actually thinks about Russia's role in world affairs. The people who term him a predatory monster are actually talking about themselves.