What were indirect conflicts between powers during the Cold War called?
[Please note that eNotes does not do student assignments but provides tutoring and reference material. Your Questions were edited to accord with this policy. Staff]
2 Answers | Add Yours
You are looking for the term, "Proxy Wars." Given the competing nature of both sets of ideologies between the Soviets and the Americans, both nations sought to settle their differences around the world. Europe had alread been divided into "West" and "East." The new domains became areas around the world. Nations that were newly emergent from Colonialism were seeking to define themselves. These areas proved to be fertile grounds for both Soviet and American forces to wage battle without doing battle against one another.
The proxy war became the way that these battles were seen. Proxy wars in nations like Vietnam or Nicaragua were evident. Proxy war elements were seen in places like Iran, where intervention from the United States was perceived as needed to remove a Socialist leader. In the end, the proxy war was a situation in which conflicts were never fought directly between the major powers of the world, but through a series of indirect conflicts.
During the Cold War, the two main super powers—the United States and the USSR—exerted their influence around the world and instead of coming face-to-face for direct confrontation, carried out "proxy wars" around the globe.
Since both the powers have nuclear weapons, a direct conflict would have led to mass-scale destruction and the world came very close to that during the Cuban missile crisis. Thereafter, the two powers refrained from directly confronting each other; rather they used other nations, typically newly independent states, for their conflicts. Examples are Afghanistan, Iran-Iraq, North and South Korea and Vietnam. In all these cases, either one country was directly involved and the other supported the opposing group, or the two powers supported opposing groups. An example is the support of Iraq by the US and Iran by the USSR. Another example is the direct involvement of the US in Vietnam and the USSR's support of the rebels. A number of dictators and oppressors were an end-result of the Cold War, including Saddam Hussain.
Join to answer this question
Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.Join eNotes