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Proxy wars and the contemporary security environment

Rauta, V. and Mumford, A. (2017) Proxy wars and the contemporary security environment. In: The Palgrave Handbook of Security, Risk and Intelligence. Palgrave, pp. 99-115. ISBN 9781137536754

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-53675-4_6


The chapter is structured as follows: first, attention is be paid to the issue of theorising proxy wars. The chapter defines proxy wars by observing how they differ from cases of third-party military intervention. Here, the focus is on differentiating the Proxy Agent from third parties such as mediators or auxiliaries. Second, the chapter addresses the question of ‘Why do states engage in proxy wars?’, and attempts an examination of contenting and competing explanations. These two aims are then put to the empirical test. By using two recent and ongoing cases of proxy wars, the theoretical discussion is brought into the empirical realm. The chosen cases are, first, the situation in Ukraine emerging from the 2013 protests and culminating with the annexation of Crimea in 2014, and, second, the collapse of the Syrian state and the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Because proxy wars have generally been linked to the Cold War period and, thus, came to be associated with a superpower practice of avoiding direct interaction, the chapter moves away from discussing classic proxy wars such as the 1954 Guatemalan coup d’état, the civil war in Angola (1975–2002), or the Ogaden War between Ethiopia and Somalia (1977–1978). A view from a post-Cold War security standpoint significantly expands our understanding of this ever-present security problem.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Politics and International Relations
ID Code:79837

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