While this country is mired in the Trump buffoonery we pay less attention to the forces that are changing the way the rest of the world functions. All we know is that China, Iran, and North Korea are bad unless Trump says they're good. Our Allies are bad and Russia is our friend, no, make that our BFF.
Meanwhile, Russia is playing the field like they own it....and they do! The proof is everywhere.
After mopping up in Syria, Putin's next adventure will probably be played in a battle-ready return to Ukraine and that unfinished business. And the man who will lead that effort will be the same one who blasted the separatist forces for not advancing further into Ukraine in 2014. His name is Igor Girkin.
If Igor Girkin, aka Strelkov, returns to Donbas as is being reported, I think the West should be prepared to expect some kind of military action, perhaps even an offensive move, possibly towards Mariupol and Kharkiv. Russian support may even intrude into Ukraine from Moldova and Crimea. The scale of the actions in Donbas will probably be tied to the appropriate election's outcome.
In any case, the military plans and stage are probably already being set. Equipment is steadily being moved into positions, in Donbas and Crimea. The command is all that's needed.....unless some kind of counter moves will be made by the West (Trump) to make this "unprofitable" for Putin.
Whether Putin proceeds, succeeds or not, in his goals is still unpredictable, much will depend of the West's aggressive stance against it. But so far the West has allowed Putin to run the table throughout his sphere of influence.......and Girkin is the key to Ukraine now, just as Manafort was the "immediate" tip off to Putin.
In fact, today's news that Girkin might return to Donbas hit me with the same impact as when I'd first heard about Manafort's joining the Trump team. ( I mean really, Yanukovich's consultant/advisor! Who couldn't foresee and understand the ramifications from the beginning? How Red did that flag have to be?)
And that's the problem, it's always there, the proof. People only have to believe the obvious and then act accordingly. Unfortunately, the present day reality of Truth has been turned into a betrayal of common sense and logic.