Proxy war

conflict between two actors in which neither directly engages the other

A proxy war or proxy warfare is a war in which opposite sides use third parties as substitutes for fighting each other directly. States have sometimes used less powerful states as proxies, but violent non-state actors, mercenaries, and other third parties are more often employed, for example in a civil war. It is hoped that the groups can strike an opponent without leading to full-scale war.

The United States and the Soviet Union used proxies to fight during the Cold War. Both tried to increase their influence and to decrease each other's influence.