The third millennium, where we had high expectations for human development, has disappointed. War, famine and disease are still here. And at the end of 2014, the world is closer than ever to the return of the Cold War that some had thought was banished forever. We’re not there yet! The powerful, with their strategic interests, have decided otherwise and have frozen any progress toward a future free from fear and edicts. This is clearly illustrated by the civil wars in Ukraine and Syria and the chaos in Libya ... but on close inspection, the West is hardly a stranger to this negative evolution taking place in three geostrategic regions: Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

For Libya, the complicated situation prevailing there is due primarily to Western military intervention and its military arm, NATO, which left various militias — directly or indirectly supported by the West, via Qatar and Saudi Arabia — there to maintain a chaos conducive to further foreign interference. In a Middle East almost under the U.S.’s thumb, Syria looks like the Gallic village defying Caesar. We had to get rid of this funny Asterix who goes by the name “Bashar al-Assad.” Certainly, this character is somewhat friendly, but we saw him as someone able to hold a candle to the West and to the jihadi onslaught launched in Syria. Syrian resistance has unexpectedly complicated the situation, slowing the West and forcing it to revise its plans.

The crisis in Ukraine — a deliberate provocation from the West and the fascist leaders who seized power in Kiev, which has turned into a civil war — has also taken an unscheduled detour for the United States and major European powers, who believed it was time to unsettle Moscow’s predominance in ex-communist Eastern Europe and further cut off Russia. It is true that the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the disappearance of the Soviet Union, and the breakup of the Soviet bloc left Russia groggy. Strong from that victory — which was, in fact, a Pyrrhic victory — the communist bloc, the West in general and the U.S. in particular all began to prepare for the return of the empire — a British and French model whereby independence is removed — and a long, imperial reign over the world. To achieve this result, it was first necessary to contain and put on the defensive the only military power — outside of the West — that could thwart this project. However, these powers don’t seem to have considered that Putin, the Kremlin’s current occupant, is of a different caliber than Mikhail Gorbachev — who sincerely believed that the world would mend — or Boris Yeltsin, who danced the polka with a glass of vodka in hand — and that he is not afraid to respond tit-for-tat to any initiative that would harm Russia. Thus, as in Syria, where he forced U.S. President Barack Obama to back down, and in Ukraine, where no solution is possible without Moscow’s cooperation, Vladimir Putin has marked his territory and established boundaries that the West cannot cross without assuming the risk of, not just reviving the Cold War, but provoking an explosion that could be atomic.

Since 2000, the West has been counting the days until it can regain its might and reconstruct its empire. The U.S. has thus developed plans (such as restructuring the Middle East into small ethnic, confessional states in the pay of Washington) that will eliminate the Arab states capable of resisting them and their advancing soldier, Israel. In Europe, NATO — a U.S. substrate — was keen to expand its powers in the East by installing military bases on the outskirts of Russia (see the hawkish statements made by various officials from the Atlantic alliance), reckoning that Russia no longer has the means to oppose it. And, to kill two birds with one stone, cut off Russia’s engagement with Europe and, icing on the cake, neutralize it. The least we can say is that the West has skimped in recent years on any provocation in order to test Moscow’s reaction. But all of the ingredients and warning signs of a return to the Cold War are present now. In fact, the imperial West would only be pleased by a peace where all of the assets are in its hands or, failing that, an armed peace where it can impose world security. However, by playing with fire, Americans and Europeans risk getting burned.