Russia has had an interest in the Middle East for years, back to the Great Game.
Is there anyone NOT interested in the middle east?
At the same time, one of the interesting things here was russia's attempted diplomacy in the area. They were essentially trying to take the lead, end the most contentious battles in syria, and then bring in nearby regional players to workout a path towards "peace". The latter was going on when Syria dropped the bomb, so to speak.
The end, if it all worked out, would be that russia would look like the big country to come in, deal with problems smaller countries couldn't, build the coalition, and set forth long term solutions. Ie- the role the us used to be expected to play, and russia wants to take over or at least take much larger part in.
Whereas the US is as naive as ever.
Maybe? Part of me just wonders if those in power simply like being in a fight too much. Too many rewards, too many hoorays, and we really haven't faced a domestic consequence in too long to really shy from it.
Our military is becoming more and more insulated, where children of veterans join the new ranks more than outsiders, and no one else is really in a position to see the negatives while we expect the military to.