Monday, May 12, 2008

Proxy Wars

We all know about the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan, but exactly how many wars is the US really fighting? And how many are in the making? A proxy war is the war that results when two powers use third parties as substitutes for fighting each other directly.

For example, when President Bush traveled to Israel last January, Israeli security officials were anxious to brief Bush on their latest intelligence about Iran’s nuclear program - and how it could be destroyed. The London Times states "Many Israelis are eager to know whether America would give their country the green light to attack, as it did last September when Israel struck a mysterious nuclear site in Syria." Is this the start of a proxy war?

And in Lebanon, the recent political battle has become a proxy war with the US, Saudi Arabia and France backing the Lebanese government, and Iran and Syria backing Hizballah. Both sides are fighting to shape the Middle East. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice strongly reaffirmed US support for the pro-Western government:
We will stand by the Lebanese government and peaceful citizens of Lebanon through this crisis and provide the support they need to weather this storm.
As if the Middle East wasn't enough, the US government now has a renewed interest in South America. If there is proof that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been offering arms and other help to FARC (which has been trying to topple the government of Colombia for nearly a half-century), then Venezuela could be considered a terrorist nation. Will the US back Columbia's "final offensive" against Venezuela?

In Bolivia, a crucial vote could pave the way for secession of the resource-rich Santa Cruz region. Other oil-rich provinces may also vote for greater autonomy. Bolivian President Evo Morales has accused the US of backing the secessionists. Apparently the US does not like Morales's socialist agenda and his close ties to Venezuela and Cuba. According to CounterPunch, "In an effort to rollback social and political change in Bolivia, the U.S has funneled millions of dollars to opposition groups through USAID and The National Endowment for Democracy. What’s more, USAID explicitly supports demands of the right wing for greater regional autonomy in the east."

Does the US step into these situations to spread happiness and democracy, and is it just a coincidence that all these regions have oil? Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my little list of probable proxy wars. Did I forget any?

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