The truth is that Russia surged in global influence from the day Barack Obama assumed the presidency and appointed Hillary Clinton as secretary of State. Their strategy of “leading from behind” enabled the Russian bear to forcefully assert itself in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
Russia filled a void created by the lack of U.S. leadership and a lack of support for American allies around the world. It thrust itself into Egypt, Syria and even parts of Iraq as it expanded its sphere of influence over the past seven years, in addition to its belligerence in Ukraine.
Putin most certainly would hope for a Clinton presidency and the extension of Obama’s policies, giving him another four years of nearly unrestrained aggression. It would offer more opportunity compared to a Trump administration, whose “America First” platform would guide its foreign policy.