Covert Action and Proxy Wars

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Proxy wars and covert action share certain affinities. Both have traditionally been seen as the middle option, a policy tool that sits between an overt military engagement, diplomacy, and doing nothing. However, the greatest obstacle to understanding the nuances of affinity between covert action and proxy warfare lies not only in understanding the distinction between different types of relationships between sponsors and proxy forces, but also what covert action is and is not. This chapter explores the complexities of covert operations in the post-Cold War world conducted by different US government agencies and aims to situate covert action in the broader context of contemporary proxy war studies literature. It argues that, with the re-emergence of the great power competition, covert action will remain one the key policy implementing tools, but that not every operation involving the use of third parties is conducted under the banner of covert action.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Proxy Wars
EditorsMoghadam Assaf, Vladimir Rauta, Michel Wyss
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781000914221
ISBN (Print)9781032004136
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2023


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