Proxy Wars in History: A Longue Durée Perspective

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Abstract

This chapter examines the prevalence of proxy war from the medieval era to the Second World War, showing that the resort to indirect warfare is an established factor of strategic competition in history. It summarizes the methodological challenges involved in applying contemporary concepts to historical study, concluding that an overview of the past demonstrates that proxies are not puppets, that they have their own agency, and are difficult for sponsors to control. Sponsor states and their clients can betray each other, and the resort to proxy warfare can also exacerbate international rivalries. States seeking to use proxies for strategic purposes also frequently fail to comprehend the nature of the conflicts they meddle in, and the short-term benefits gained from indirect warfare can be overshadowed by the disastrous long-term impact of their intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Proxy Wars
EditorsAssaf Moghadam, Vladimir Rauta, Michel Wyss
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Chapter9
Pages113-123
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781000914221
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023

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