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Changing the character of proxy warfare and its consequences for geopolitical relationships


[ 1 ] TOBB Economics and Technology University, Sogutozu Caddesi No: 43, Sogutozu, Ankara 06560 Turkey

Year of publication


Published in

Security and Defence Quarterly

Journal year: 2020 | Journal volume: vol. 31 | Journal number: no. 4

Article type

scientific article

Publication language


  • State
  • Proxy force
  • Technologic empowerment
  • Political relationships
  • Geopolitical environment

EN The main purpose of the article is to examine the causal relationship between key elements of the geostrategic environment (i.e. political, military, and technological) and the changes in the characteristics of proxy force. Qualitative data analysis is used to identify the geopolitical environment conditions, actors, and their relationship. The causal analysis between key elements of the geopolitical environment, such as politics, military, and technological, therefore influences how proxy forces change character. The findings imply that the contemporary geopolitical environment is changing the character of the proxies. They can be used as multipurpose forces depending on the desired strategic outcome. The results advocate that proxies have a global reach beyond the traditional battlefield. These capabilities allow proxies to be used in a wide range of political, economic, and military activities, especially in peacetime, and, therefore, influencing, changing, and damaging the state’s mutual relationships. Despite differences between several theoretical perspectives of security theories, many concur on the low desirability of proxy force. The changing characteristics of proxy war allow state and non-state actors to wage war with a minimal use of force, or none at all, beyond the traditional battlefield. Political violence demonstrated through proxy force to fulfil foreign policy goals has become even more violent. In such action, disregarding the sustainable strategic goal can easily damage the state’s international relations and threaten international and regional stability. The overall findings show the urgency for a more holistic approach in the analysis of proxy warfare as part of security studies and military operations.

Date of online publication


Pages (from - to)

37 - 51



License type

CC BY-NC-ND (attribution - noncommercial - no derivatives)

Open Access Mode

open journal

Open Access Text Version

final published version

Release date


Date of Open Access to the publication

at the time of publication

Points of MNiSW / journal


Points of MNiSW / journal in years 2017-2021