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The Vietnam War was the prolonged struggle between nationalist forces attempting to unify the country of Vietnam under a communist government and the United States (with the aid of the South Vietnamese) attempting to prevent the spread of communism. With the Trump administration now reversing its predecessor’s policy, agreeing to send Javelin missiles to pro-American forces in eastern Ukraine, it is critical that the government and the American public fully consider these questions. By 1975, when North Vietnamese troops took Saigon and reunified the nation under communist rule, an estimated 1 million to 3 million Vietnamese h… proxy war meaning: 1. a war fought between groups or smaller countries that each represent the interests of other…. But dependence on proxies comes with its own risks and moral hazards. The goal of the United States was to stop the spread of communism while the Soviet Union wanted to spread communism in order to increase their own sphere of influence. Meanwhile, in areas of Iraq that Iranian-backed militias have liberated from the Islamic State, hundreds of men and boys have disappeared; scores of others have been executed. The moment the United States has intervened on a proxy’s behalf, whether in Vietnam, Afghanistan, or Yemen, this has immediately changed a proxy’s thinking. Again, this is not to say that supplying weapons to a proxy is always the wrong decision. Patrick Granfield, a national-security appointee in the Obama administration, served as a speechwriter for Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. And if and when atrocities occur despite our best efforts, a proxy’s feet must be held to the fire. And in all proxy wars, the obligation to set a standard of accountability lies with the greater power, the benefactor. Some of these Cold War coups and interventions are briefly outlined below. Vietnamese Proxy List - Proxies from Vietnam. ... Reevaluating proxy war … He was hated by many Vietnamese and was executed in November of 1963. North and South Vietnam were divided at the 17th parallel. A proxy war with significant effects occurred between the United States and the USSR during the Vietnam War. A proxy war is defined to be "a war fought between groups of smaller countries that each … Their leadership has to hold perpetrators accountable. Brutal tactics were the norm during the Vietnam War, and no one suffered more than the Vietnamese themselves, both in the North and the South. The Vietnam War was a proxy war lead by US that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from December 1956 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. The Vietnam War was a proxy war between the United States, the Soviet Union — then growing rapidly in military power, confidence, and prestige — and communist China. Regional flashpoints such as the South China Sea and Taiwan could ignite such hot wars. Intervention always changes a proxy’s calculus: with insurance from a powerful benefactor, proxies have greater reason to choose violence over compromise. Ideally, such aid should be provided only when steps are taken to ensure their provision leads to greater deterrence, not greater violence. Hezbollah is dictating the terms of Lebanese politics and preparing for war with Israel. (4) Does the consideration of the war by one external party as a war by proxy make it possible to define a war as such, or do we need more external parties to define it as a war by proxy? March 1959 - Ho Chi Minh declared all out war in order to unite Vietnam under one rule. Take the campaign to defeat the Islamic State. Was the Vietnam war a war by proxy for China and for the Soviet Union, while not so for the U.S. because of her intervention in it? ... Afghanistan and notably Vietnam. The Vietnam War was described as a civil war within South Vietnam, although it became a proxy war between Cold War powers. Iran’s proxies are running roughshod over America’s allies and interests in the Middle East. Well, it depends on what kind of country we want to be and what kind of world we want to live in. January 30, 1968 - North Vietnam launches the Tet Offensive attacking around 100 cities in Southern Vietnam. © Copyright 2020 Center for the National Interest All Rights Reserved, the recent National Security Strategy indicates. This ignores a central reality of proxy war: that at the moment a benefactor intervenes, it immediately changes the conflict by changing a proxy’s calculations. For the United States, a nation that draws legitimacy from both the power of its example and its military might, this has special weight. They also ended up with adversaries, criminal gangs and terrorist groups as far afield as Bosnia, Iran, Kashmir, Tunisia and Palestine. The Vietnam War was a proxy war that was fought as during the Cold War as a part of the policy of containment. Millions of people were killed, mostly Vietnamese. The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, and known in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America or simply the American War, was a Cold War-era proxy war that occurred in Vietnam, L Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff is the Research Professor for the Military Profession and Ethic at the Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College. The Korean and Vietnam wars, They have greater reason—and greater resources—to raise a conflict’s stakes, creating risks for themselves and their benefactors. In this environment, why should we constrain ourselves with rules and values? Listen to a recorded reading of this page. Learn why a country that had been barely known to most Americans came to define an era. In a cycle of escalation and counterescalation, it is difficult to conceive of a situation where the United States would be willing to risk more than Russia over Ukraine. While the origins of both are rooted in their countries’ respective histories, much of the world regarded the wars as proxies for the larger Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. In Yemen, Houthis indiscriminately launch missiles into Saudi Arabia. The city of Saigon was later renamed to Ho Chi Minh City in his honor. Our European American men were taken away from their families, tortured, maimed, used as cannon fodder, and genocided by this proxy war, all to advance the Jewish aim of taking over America and the rest of the world, and exterminating the White race entirely. It can easily make a mockery of our values. This allowed US troops to use armed force in the area. But, whether through better tracking technology or through mechanisms that disable weapons after a certain period of time, these risks can and should be mitigated. Of course, there is a clear alternative: a world in which the strong make the rules. July 1969 - President Nixon begins the withdrawal of US troops. Like in Cold War 1.0, the US-China rivalry could result in “hot wars” between peripheral states. Weapons the United States supplied to mujahideen in Afghanistan fighting the Soviets, for instance, played an important role in getting the Soviets out of Afghanistan. If we intervene on behalf of a proxy without clarity as to how far we are willing to go, and how important their security is to our own, doesn’t that set us and our partners up for failure? Russia would have every incentive to respond, ratcheting up the stakes and costs of the conflict. Cambodian Civil War The Cambodian Civil War was a very complicated conflict that began in 1967 and continued until 1975. As a result, the Vietnamese suffered the highest casualties in the conflict. The war helped the CIA to refine its methods of illegal drug trafficking, torture and the like. That’s why proxy war’s first risk to consider is escalation, with America’s role in Vietnam providing a prime example. If the United States supplies advanced weaponry to proxies without taking necessary steps to prevent their unjust use, our hands are dirty. In fact, only a small portion of the Stinger surface-to-air missiles provided to mujahideen have been recovered. After the Korean War, tensions only escalated between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Involvement in Vietnam began the way most proxy wars do, with the President (Eisenhower at the time) sending funding and military equipment to the South Vietnamese, but a young politician ran on a stronger platform of crushing Soviet influence with military force. Atrocities committed by American-backed right-wing forces in Central America three decades ago, or by America’s partners in the now three-year-old war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led bombing campaign has often failed to discriminate between civilians and combatants, illustrate these risks. It was not a conventional war, and its costs are measured by the individual proxy wars. Proxy wars can have a huge impact, especially on the local area. War is always messy, and proxy war often more so. A proxy war is an armed conflict between two parties, either countries or factions, which is taking place on behalf of parties not directly involved. The Cold War is now known for a number of proxy wars in which both the Soviet Union and the United States would support one side or the other in conflicts around the world. Vietnam's war was predominately an internal civil war without external influence, except for a short period of time when China invaded in 1978. The United States has long operated from the presumption that if a proxy’s cause is just, then America’s support for it must also be just. Ho Chi Minh died during the war in 1969. It is estimated that millions of Vietnamese died either in battle or as civilians caught in the crossfire. We have already accepted the world as our adversaries want to make it. Events in Southeast Asia after the Vietnam War. In fact, in nearly every civil war between 1946 and 2002, no rebel group received weapons from a benefactor without the government they opposed receiving support from benefactors of their own. In fact, the United States would enter the war militarily and play a large role in the conflict for several years. The Obama administration’s decision to forgo providing lethal aid to forces responding to Russian aggression was deeply unsatisfying, but a potential cycle of escalation and counter escalation weighed heavily in this judgment. March 1972 - The North Vietnamese attack across the border in the Easter Offensive. The Viet Cong were Vietnamese rebels in the South who fought against the Southern Vietnam government and the United States. As great-power competition grows, so does the appeal of proxy war, providing great powers the opportunity to compete while avoiding direct confrontation. And in the post-9/11 era, proxies continue to play a critical role in how the United States, Russia and Iran seek to realize national-security objectives while trying to limit costs. Vietnam eventually fell completely to communism. Learn more. The American people did not feel like their government was being held accountable. At this moment in history—one where, as the recent National Security Strategy indicates, competition between great powers is increasing—evaluating when, where and how the United States decides to support proxies is critical. The second risk of proxy war comes from diffusion, where weapons, equipment and other support do not stay with the proxy but end up in the wrong hands. Of course, this does not allow us to turn a blind eye to injustices committed by those on our own side. He is currently a lecturer at Georgetown University. Proxy war’s third and perhaps greatest concern for the United States comes from the problem of dirty hands. With insurance from a powerful benefactor, proxies have greater reason to choose violence over compromise. The Korean and Vietnam wars were two of the defining events of the 20th century. But allowing vast swathes of territory to remain under the brutality of ISIS was deemed a far greater evil. Use the graph below showing the cost of wars in the 20th century to answer the following question: Which is the best explanation for why the Cold War is not included in this chart? During the Cold War Washington sent American troops into Vietnam (1965-75), the Dominican Republic (1965), Lebanon (1982), Grenada (1983) and Panama (1989). The South was supported by anti-communist countries, primarily the United States. Proxy Server List - this page provides and maintains the largest and the most up-to-date list of working proxy servers that are available for public use. December 1961 - US military advisors begin to take a direct role in the war. So did questions about the endgame, and rightly so. This is not to say the risk of escalation should make intervention impermissible—strategically, morally or otherwise. It was between the Communist Part of Kampuchea (which became known as the Khmer Rouge) and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (also known as North Vietnam) and the Kingdom of Cambodia. The Korean War and the Vietnam War were both results of communist aggression. During the Cold War, the need to prevent such a full-scale war became extremely important due to the fear of mutually assured destruction. This was not a good sign for the US hopes in the area. Proxies may provide the United States an ability to offload some of its own military costs and responsibilities, but they cannot absolve the nation of its moral responsibilities. August 1964 - The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution is passed by the US Congress after two US Destroyers were attacked by the North Vietnamese. In postconflict societies containing proxies that have accepted weapons from a benefactor, these proxies also accept the risk of greater violence within their societies for the long term, with higher rates of murder and other violent crimes in these countries. In 1971, the Pentagon Papers were leaked, revealing confidential information about the war. Watch Queue Queue The Afghanistan war is more than a $1 trillion mistake. Of course, many will ask why the United States should concern itself with rules when so many threats emanate from adversaries who don’t abide by them, particularly Russia and Iran. The US begins a bombing campaign of Northern Vietnam called Operation Rolling Thunder. In particular, the bombing campaign Operation Rolling Thunder destroyed significant amounts of infrastructure, making life more difficult for North Vietnamese citizens. March 8, 1965 - The first official US combat troops arrive in Vietnam. Aftermath of Vietnam War: Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, fell to followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, commonly known as the Khmer Rouge, on 17 April 1975.Over the next four years, the Khmer Rouge enacted a genocidal policy that killed over one-fifth of all Cambodians, or more than a million people. As a result, President Nixon ended all U.S. interventions in Vietnam and the rest of Southeast Asia in 1973. But there may be cases where the United States has to support a partner that engages in behavior we judge as wrong. But before attempting to beat adversaries at their own proxy game, the United States would benefit from a reckoning with its track record, one that points to many of proxy war’s inherent risks, moral concerns and strategic limitations. What began with the commitment of a few dozen military advisors during the 1950s intended to check communist expansion ended two decades later with more than fifty-eight thousand dead Americans and a united, communist Vietnam. The US chosen president of the South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, was not a good leader. JFK was assassinated soon after declaring his intent to withdraw US troops. If we support our interests abroad by abandoning the norms that support a just world order, or look the other way as our partners violate them, then we have already lost. In the Cold War, both the United States and Soviet Union employed proxies, often to ill effect. Proxy War. Consider even the best case: America provides lethal aid that allows pro-Western forces in Ukraine to make rapid gains. The dangers of these escalatory dynamics have featured prominently in debates about how the United States should respond to Russia’s troubling intervention in Ukraine. But it’s not just Iran that gives proxy war a bad name. Here are seven facts not known about the Cambodian-Vietnamese War. If we provide advanced weapons to proxies, only for them to create greater instability down the road, how does that serve the nation’s long-term security interests? But this government clashed with Ho’s Democratic We too are implicated. Of course, cooperation with mujahideen proxies also enabled the rise of Al Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups that continue to threaten the United States and its citizens. 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