Former Colin Powell consigliere Larry Wilkerson confirms all this, calling both Ukraine and Syria proxy wars by the "Deep State" of American empire.
It's also why I think there's a left-liberal case for Realpolitik of some sort. And, that needs to be noted, because some left-liberals, in decrying the bipartisan foreign policy establishment, may risk a left-liberal version of Wilsonianism in its place.
This all said, I mentioned a piece one month ago.
The venerable Seymour Hersh detailed how, during the time period mentioned above, the Defense Intelligence Administration deliberately undercut Obama's foreign policy in Syria by moving closer to the Assad regime and, by extension, Russia, going as far as to leak intelligence to Russia via Turkey.
This is (the information, not Sy's writing) the "good," the bad, and the ugly, all in one. It's good in that the DIA, as combined with the first piece, kept Dear Leader from a possible missile launch against Assad, let alone the possibility of putting boots on the ground in Syria. That "good" is in scare quotes because it's a very relative good and was brought about in very scary ways.
It's bad in that this was some sort of "Seven Days in May" situation. Brass hats and scrambled eggs should never be running our policy. Per Clemenceau, if war is too important to be left to generals, that goes in spades for anything contingent to it.
And, back to the first link. Anybody who knows anything knows that Victoria Nuland is a neocon "piece of work," married to Robert Kagan of the neocon family of even bigger pieces of work.
Who knows, given the second link, how much Dear Leader even is aware of some of this until after it happens? And, whether he is or is not, things like this are why, even should Bernie Sanders get the Democratic nod, I'll likely still vote Green. He's not a neocon, but he's not outside the box of the bipartisan foreign policy establishment, either. I said last week that MSNBC missed some real foreign policy questions, to the left of Sanders as well as Clinton.
And, Dear Leader didn't have to appoint her to an assistant secretary of state position. (It's political, not civil service.)
That, and the fact that Bernie's still inside the two-party/bipartisan foreign policy establishment box, is the ugly. On issue after issue, Dear Leader's been even more of Beltway president on foreign policy than domestic policy. Sanders is basically Beltway bipartisanship-lite.
This is all "the ugly."
And, it has fallout, like turning Syria into a football, having Russia highly distrust us there, so that even a temporary cease-fire there becomes a tussle. As of Feb. 16, that cease-fire looks shakier by the day.
Again, Putin's not nice, nor trustworthy. But, siccing Georgia on him as a two-bit ankle-biter, followed by the quasi-coup in Ukraine, were not the right answers.