Strangely (or rather not), the question doesn't come from me, but from Tom Lister, the author of that CNN article. The full text of the sentence where the question is asked:
Is Russian President Vladimir Putin an opportunist, grabbing at chances to poke the West in the eye, or a clever strategist with the longer-term goal of restoring a greater Russia?I am stumped trying to understand Mr Lister. Really.
Is there any contradiction between being a "clever strategist" and poking the West where it hurts? Did the venerable Sun Tzu ever object to a bit of poking one's enemy in the eye?
Unless, of course, that kind of poking is considered politically incorrect nowadays. But I wouldn't know. Or care, for that matter.