Accessibility navigation

On proxy war: a multipurpose tool for a multipolar world

Fox, A. C. (2023) On proxy war: a multipurpose tool for a multipolar world. Journal of Military Studies, 12 (1). pp. 1-17. ISSN 1799-3350

Text (Open Access) - Published Version
· Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.2478/jms-2023-0001


Current literature on proxy war tends to miss a set of key factors germane to the study and practice of proxy war. First, proxy wars are distinct from coalitions and alliances because proxy wars, unlike the latter, are rooted in offsetting one’s own risk by offloading it to another actor. Next, analysing proxy relationships and risk through agency theory, network theory, and theories of power illuminate five basic models of proxy relationship – coerced, exploited, transactional, cultural and contractual. These models provide a new understanding of how strategic actors can best leverage a proxy. Moreover, these models provide a basic understanding of what specific types of proxies cannot do. For example, coerced and exploited proxies cannot be counted on for complicated work, or long-duration operations. Transactional proxies, given the business agreement between the principal and proxy, can be counted on to go to the razor’s edge together. Nonetheless, task completion accelerates dyad divergence, and mission accomplishment usually results in transactional solvency. Cultural and contractual relationships are tight-bonded, facilitate complicated missions, and can operate for long periods of time. As a result, strategic actors looking to invest in proxy strategies are best served when utilising cultural or contractual proxies.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Politics and International Relations
ID Code:115812
Publisher:De Gruyter


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation