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There may have begun a geo-political tectonic shift, a major re-alignment in the world when Russian President Vladimir Putin boldly sent his air force into Syria four weeks ago-with the stated intent to destroy the Islamic State (IS) and their assorted al Qaeda terrorist cohorts in Syria. He made no distinction among them, "They're all terrorists"-that have been rampaging and beheading people in Syria as well as Iraq that is helping create the refugee crisis in Europe. Even the old cold war warrior himself Henry Kissinger referred to Putin's actions as "a deployment unprecedented in Russian history". 
The "shift" is more than his air force close military intelligence coordination with Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces along with Iranian, Iraqi and Hezbollah forces on the ground in Syria against the terrorists.
It's more than Russia's advanced missile technology- the accuracy hitting terrorist targets within two meters fired from ships operating in the Caspian Sea over a thousand miles away, that undoubtedly surprised the Pentagon.
It's more than the superiority of Russian jet fighters confronting Turkish fighters-after the Russian planes inadvertently crossed into Turkish territory, bad weather reportedly, locking their radar without firing but causing the Turks to retreat.
Or Putin's actions being seen as favorable by the Syrian people-"Putin the great".
It's probably a combination of all these factors.
Before going any further let's get rid of any notion Putin's action in Syria is his attempt to reestablish the old Soviet Union. He may regret its demise-for reasons he explained long ago and which I'll briefly allude to later in this piece-but most people in Russia don't regret the demise of the USSR and they overwhelmingly support him on Syria.
Before taking his action in Syria Putin recognized since the end of the cold war in 1991 the US became more embolden, moved NATO further eastward-in betrayal of an oral agreement in 1989 between Bush Sr. and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev not to move NATO "one inch further eastward" if Germany was permitted to reunify, the accelerated push by the neo-cons for regime change, first with the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990's, then after 9/11 the invasion of Afghanistan in October, Iraq in March 2003-creating the Sunni insurgents in Iraq that later gave birth to IS in Syria and Iraq-overthrowing Qaddafi in Libya in 2011, supporting the coup in Egypt in 2013, behind the coup in Ukraine in 2014 and now pushing "Assad must go" in Syria.
In Syria Putin recognized the terrorists were in ascendance, Damascus could fall under IS control, bringing the fall of the Assad government and another failed state in the Middle East-to say nothing of Russia's naval base at Tartus or its air base at Latakia then being surrounded by terrorists. And from there the terrorist threat could spread into Russia itself with millions of Muslims on its southern tier.
Putin could not let this happen, so he acted.
But beyond US consternation and trumped up accusations of Putin attacking "moderates", destroying hospitals and his missiles hitting harmlessly in Iran-all unsubstantiated with no evidence given-Putin's actions are beginning to turn the tide in Syria with the hypothesis presented above, a geo-political shift, re-alignment is taking place in the world.
Putin's actions in Syria signal it's no longer a unipolar world-where the US acts with impunity exercising hegemony wherever it pleases in the world-but a multi-polar world not only with Russia, but also China, Iran, India, Brazil, South Africa, the BRICS and all the other non-aligned countries of the world that resist US hegemony over them.
It's absolutely significant, forcing the US to reconcile, come to terms that it can't challenge the Russian's in the air in Syria-or anywhere else without initiating an incident that could lead to the unthinkable, war between two nuclear armed states.
Then again, never underestimate the crazed neo-cons believing a nuclear war is winnable; them creating a false flag attack, blame it on the Russians, force Obama to over-react, then Putin acts and...the real war to end all wars.
 "A Path Out of the Middle East Collapse", by Henry Kissinger, "The Wall Street Journal", October 16, 2015