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  • In October 2015, US President Barack Obama said that America would not turn Syria into

  • a proxy war with Russia. However, many have said that this has already happened, as the

  • US previously aided Syrian rebels against the Russian-supported Assad regime. Proxy

  • Wars between the US and Russia have been an active part of their long and turbulent history.

  • So, why do the US and Russia fight so many proxy wars?

  • The US and Russia have been at odds since the early 20th Century. The newly formed USSR

  • espoused a left leaning communist ideology, while the US flourished under capitalist policy.

  • This East vs West dichotomy led to both countries trying to sway vulnerable nations to their

  • side after World War II. On several occasions, the US attempted this by instituting pro-US

  • governments, while the USSR pushed for communist revolutions, not unlike their own.

  • Their first proxy war is considered the Chinese Civil War in 1945. The Soviets supported the

  • Communist government that would eventually overtake mainland China. Meanwhile, the US

  • only recognized the original Republic of China during and for a time after the war. In rapid

  • succession, further conflicts like the 1946 First Indochina War, saw the US quickly bolster

  • an effort to oppose Communist revolutions in Southeast Asia. In many cases, these were

  • predominantly supported, financed, and armed by the Soviet Union. The result was that guerrilla

  • groups and struggling governments, which had been fighting with outdated equipment, were

  • suddenly backed by modern weaponry, as both the US and the Soviet Union worked to overpower

  • the opposing side. The US’s efforts to prevent the further spread of communism around the

  • world was calledContainment”. However, communist revolutions in Cuba and Laos during

  • the 1950s showed that the USSR was powerful enough to affect ideological change from across

  • the globe.

  • One of the most important, and dirty, proxy wars occurred during the 1980s and 90s. Nicaragua’s

  • US-founded dictatorship was overthrown by left-leaning revolutionaries, the Sandinistas.

  • The new government was intrinsically aligned with the Soviet Union, and represented a very

  • regional threat to the United States. In an attempt to stem the tide of socialism in Central

  • America, the CIA funded and trained terrorist rebel groups known as the Contras, to overthrow

  • the Sandinistas. To fund the war, the Reagan Administration secretly sold weapons to Iran,

  • and assisted in the trade of cocaine. Meanwhile the Soviet Union sent a huge amount of money

  • and weapons to the Sandinistas to undermine the US.

  • Throughout the second half of the 20th century, Russia aligned itself with a number of Arab

  • states. Although a brief period of time in the 1940s saw the USSR support Israel, as

  • the Jewish state grew closer to the US, Russia quickly reversed course. By the end of the

  • Cold War, not only were most Arab states supported by Russia, but the Soviet Union itself was

  • rife with institutional anti-semitism.

  • Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia and the US have come closer in geopolitical

  • goals. However, in an effort to establish themselves as world superpowers, each has

  • continued bolstering allies to their own interests. Although the conflict in Syria may not yet

  • be considered a proxy war, the two countriesindirect rivalry has already destabilized

  • much of the world.

  • The recent increase in tensions between Russia and the United States has many asking if they

  • might be on the brink of a new Cold War. To learn more, check out this video. Thanks for

  • watching! Don’t forget to like and subscribe so you don’t miss out on new daily videos.

In October 2015, US President Barack Obama said that America would not turn Syria into

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