Vladimir Putin leapt into the vacuum created by our indecisive policies in Syria. He did so for the usual reasons: buffing up Russia’s creds as an international power and distracting the increasingly restive natives at home. Best case scenario, Putin does our dirty work for us by using his knights to create the illusion of a victory for Assad long enough so others can step in and remove Assad from the board. Either way, some believe Putin’s international distractions can’t hold down domestic discontent forever, that his ranks of pawns grow thin. If true, this may be Putin’s final gambit.