What are Putin's biggest obstacles?
1. NATO, as weak as it is, is still a threat. Anything he can do weaken NATO would help him restore the Soviet era power balance in Eastern Europe - Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, etc.
2. China has a long, long border with Russia and there's always been conflict on that border. Anything he can do to weaken China's ties with the US would be helpful.
3. Turkey holds the key to the waterway from southern Russia. Good relations with Turkey is to Putin's advantage. Putin's performance in Syria contributed to refugees into Turkey and Europe, destabilizing the EU and threatening Turkey's acceptance into the EU partnership. But Putin forgave quickly Turkey shooting down a Russian military plane and is making nice to Turkey.
4. The US Intelligence agencies are always keeping watch on Russia. The less capable they are, the more power Russia has.
Now, what are some of the things Trump has been promising to do?
1. NATO is obsolete and doesn't pay its bills according to Trump. He's going to shake things up.
2. Trump's been riling China - congratulations call from Taiwan's president, Secretary of State nominee Tillerman is challenging China's access to nearby islands. All this looks aimed at making the US-China relations much more fragile and making China's border with Russia weaker.
3. Trump supports Erdogan and his strongman ways.
4. National-Security Republican elite fear they are being kept out of Trump administration.
OK, Trump is anti-establishment and we can expect some of his views to be a big change from the past. But these all seem to line up in one direction - supportive of Putin's agenda. They are pretty big deals.
And given the help Russia gave Trump in the campaign, and all the Russia friendly appointments, and the most recent news about Russia's leverage on Trump, I'd say that the evidence is lining up to a very dire conclusion.
It took a lot