Discuss the concept of proxy war during the Cold War.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The original question had to be edited.  I think that the presence of proxy war during the Cold War reflected how deep the raging ideological war between the Americans and the Soviets was.  Once both nations had effectively divided up Europe between them, the next stage was around the world. It was here in which every domestic conflict or any conflict was viewed in the context of the Cold War.  The concept of the proxy war, a war when primary antagonists use other nations as representatives of their fighting, took place.  The proxy war concept was one in which wars all over the world were fought with the Soviet and American ideologies at stake.

For example, the conflict in Vietnam was a complete proxy war.  The United States viewed Vietnam in terms of "Communist" and "Free Nation."  It was in this context where the "domino theory" became fashionable.  This theory stated that if one nation in South East Asia "went red" then all the nations in the region would follow suit.  The proxy war was fought under these conditions, failing to take into account the indigenous circumstances in the region.  The proxy war mentality failed to effectively understand that the conflict was more between North Vietnam seeking to maintain its own independence from both the Soviet Union and the United States.  The proxy war in Vietnam involved the United States backing the South and the Soviet Union supporting the North.  In the case of Vietnam, the clear division of sides and which superpower supported them defined the proxy war.