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Long‐term Consequences of Cold War
Proxy Wars: Vietnam War, African Decolonization Movements, and Afghan Crisis
Proxy wars were fought throughout the developing world
During 1961–1973, the United States gradually escalated its involvement in the Vietnam War.
Vietnam was divided into North and South regions after its decolonization in 1954. North Vietnam came under communist influence while US backed South
Gradually nationalistic forces from the North that aimed to unify Vietnam began to encroach into the South. The Americans saw it as a communist threat and began to provide military support to the south.
The U.S. government withdrew its military in the early 1970s. The U.S. effort to prevent a communist takeover in South Vietnam failed.
In other parts of the world, but most notably in Africa, post–World War II decolonization movements witnessed both the Americans and Soviets competing for influence.
This superpower rivalry either precipitated regional or civil wars or greatly prolonged conflicts already in progress. Such was the case in Congo (Zaire), Nigeria, Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya, among other African states.
Millions of people died in these wars mainly because of genocide, forced relocations, and starvation.
In late 1970s Afghanistan experienced a sort of revolution. A communist government was installed in power in Afghanistan
The US, USSR and China all had vested interests in Afghanistan due to its oil.
But anti‐communist force in collaboration with the religious fundamentalist forces opposed the new government. As a result Afghanistan plunged into a civil War.
In this civil war the USA supported the anticommunists and the fundamentalists (mujahedeen) via Pakistan. On the other hand, the communist government sought military and economic aid from the USSR.
The war was a disaster for the Soviet Union. USSR ultimately withdrew in 1990.