Proxy war or not, US and NATO allies get creative in helping Ukraine – The Christian Science Monitor | WHs Answers

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly accused the United States of waging a proxy war in Ukraine, and he’s not entirely wrong, US military analysts say.

But defining proxy war is a loose thing. In supporting Ukraine, the US and its NATO allies have national security interests that go beyond Ukraine’s own freedom and territorial integrity. Still, military experts note that Russia invaded Ukraine without provocation and against international warnings. NATO does not arm proxies to foment wars in which they would not otherwise be involved.

Why we wrote this

Does the term “proxy war” apply to a conflict that is formally between Russia and Ukraine? Whatever you call it, the US and NATO are using ingenuity to influence the outcome while keeping the war at bay.

The US and NATO are “obviously moving some red lines” to prevent the Russian invasion, but “we should be doing that,” says Sean McFate, a professor at National Defense University who served in the US Army. To date, this has meant drawing from a deep well of ingenuity to do everything from getting weapons into the hands of combatants to training them off the battlefield.

As fighting in Ukraine falters, “covert” ingenuity should also increasingly come into play, say many military analysts. “We’re going to have to wage an insidious war,” says Dr. McFate. At the same time, avoiding direct NATO intervention is key to avoiding an escalation of the conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly accused the United States of waging a proxy war in Ukraine — most recently on July 7 — and he’s not entirely wrong, US military analysts say.

But proxy wars are a very loose thing in international law, and whether the US agrees with Russia, many add, is less important than whether the US and its NATO allies can continue pushing red lines without triggering Russian retaliation, which is officially the alliance goes to war.

“If you ask lawyers or a military general, they all have a different answer as to whether this is a proxy war or not. That’s very relative,” said Sean McFate, a professor at National Defense University who served in the US Army. “The answer is that this is where Putin’s ego ends and Russian foreign policy begins. It’s a moving line that’s very much dependent on perception.”

Why we wrote this

Does the term “proxy war” apply to a conflict that is formally between Russia and Ukraine? Whatever you call it, the US and NATO are using ingenuity to influence the outcome while keeping the war at bay.

True, if Russia aided al-Qaeda in Iraq, “perhaps we would see it as crossing a line,” notes Dr. McFate. While the US was under attack from al Qaeda, Russia invaded Ukraine without provocation and against international warnings – and NATO does not arm proxies to foment wars they would otherwise not be involved in.

And while the US and NATO are “obviously moving some red lines,” he adds, “we should be.” To date, this has meant drawing from a deep well of ingenuity to do everything from getting weapons into the hands of combatants to training them off the battlefield.

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