I disagree with the analysis for many reasons, but mainly because I feel it credits Trump with too much subtlety. He is not the kind of person who thinks things through and if he forgot to take out the airstrip, it was because he just didn’t think of it. Similarly, he is perfectly capable of not reacting to something he saw in 2013 and overreacting to the same thing today. He is a person who lets himself be governed by emotion and what he sees on TV and there is no reason he could not be genuinely upset about recent images of choking children, despite past lack of interest. He reacts to things as they catch his awareness. Also, the reason for giving prior notice to the Russians was purely to avoid World War III. This is SOP wherever the two countries have military forces operating in the same area. I do not see any particular strategy in all this. Trump saw something on TV that bothered him, and he reacted to it in typical Trump fashion. End of story.
But Trump doesn't make every decision in a vacuum. I'm sure he has many advisers much smarter than him who could have suggested this as a way to boost his popularity and distract from other issues.
Agree, Trump doesn't have the sophistication to mastermind this. But a puppet on a string ... ?