Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles 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 The result was that guerrilla groups and struggling governments, which had been fighting with outdated equipment, were suddenly backed by modern weaponry, as both the US and the Soviet Union worked to overpower the opposing side.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 called “Containment”. 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 countries’ indirect 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.