Ultimately, Russia is willing to stay the course in Syria so long as the Kremlin reaps more benefits than it incurs costs. For now, the Kremlin’s campaign in Syria is reaping Moscow impressive benefits as a live-fire training ground where Russian forces can test their men and material in a real war while incurring minimal risks. Thus, it is an opportunity for Russia to refine not only its military technology but also its tactics, techniques and procedures under real operational conditions. And as such, Syria is invaluable for the Russian military to gain combat experience while the Kremlin struggles to rebuild Russia as a great power capable of competing head-to-head with the United States.
Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for The National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar.
This first appeared in RealClearDefense here.