The U.S. now stood alone. Initially, Washington was stunned. After all, as one observer put it, "the end of history" had been reached -- and there, amid the rubble of other systems and powers, lay an imperial version of liberal democracy and a capitalist system freed of even the thought of global competitors and constraints. Or so it seemed.
Let's stop talking about the Cold War's revival as if Vladimir Putin is the one who raised the dead. We are the vampire hunters who failed to drive a stake through its heart. So we shouldn't be surprised, when we go out for a stroll one day to survey our domain, to hear the click of sharp teeth poised to tear into its latest victim.
The first Cold War was the result of the total opposition of two systems. This likely second Cold War, meanwhile, is simply the result of conflicting U.S. and Russian interests. It is a conflict that has spiraled out of control due to serious political mistakes, arrogance and lack of foresight on both sides. How long will this second Cold War last, and how will it end? There is a widespread belief among Chinese experts that the Ukrainian crisis has given China a 10-year "strategic break" in its clash with the U.S. This view is likely close to the truth.
Not a single official commentator has hinted at the dangers entailed in this approach, nor to the Russian government's need to use Latin America as a diplomatic "launching pad" against its old enemy, the U.S. In the midst of this renewed confrontation among the great powers, we are trapped as a disposable part.