Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
How Enemies Become Friends

How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace

Charles A. Kupchan
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    How Enemies Become Friends
    Book Description:

    Is the world destined to suffer endless cycles of conflict and war? Can rival nations become partners and establish a lasting and stable peace?How Enemies Become Friendsprovides a bold and innovative account of how nations escape geopolitical competition and replace hostility with friendship. Through compelling analysis and rich historical examples that span the globe and range from the thirteenth century through the present, foreign policy expert Charles Kupchan explores how adversaries can transform enmity into amity--and he exposes prevalent myths about the causes of peace.

    Kupchan contends that diplomatic engagement with rivals, far from being appeasement, is critical to rapprochement between adversaries. Diplomacy, not economic interdependence, is the currency of peace; concessions and strategic accommodation promote the mutual trust needed to build an international society. The nature of regimes matters much less than commonly thought: countries, including the United States, should deal with other states based on their foreign policy behavior rather than on whether they are democracies. Kupchan demonstrates that similar social orders and similar ethnicities, races, or religions help nations achieve stable peace. He considers many historical successes and failures, including the onset of friendship between the United States and Great Britain in the early twentieth century, the Concert of Europe, which preserved peace after 1815 but collapsed following revolutions in 1848, and the remarkably close partnership of the Soviet Union and China in the 1950s, which descended into open rivalry by the 1960s.

    In a world where conflict among nations seems inescapable,How Enemies Become Friendsoffers critical insights for building lasting peace.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3441-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Charles A. Kupchan
    (pp. 1-15)

    Long before European immigrants came to North America, Iroquois tribes settled the lands that would eventually become upstate New York. These tribes were regularly at war with each other, exacting a heavy toll on their populations. In the middle of the fifteenth century, five Iroquois tribes, aggrieved by the mounting losses, gathered around a communal fire in the village of Onondaga in an attempt to end the fighting. The confederation they forged not only stopped the warfare, but it preserved peace among the Iroquois for over three hundred years. Several centuries later, the Congress of Vienna served as a similar...

    (pp. 16-72)

    This book explores the realm of international political life that occupies a middle ground between the anarchy characteristic of international politics and the order characteristic of national politics. This is the realm ofinternational society.

    As a starting point, this book shares the realist assumption that states reside in a Hobbesian international system whose default equilibrium is one of pervasive geopolitical competition. But it parts company with realism in positing that even if competition is endemic to global politics, it can nonetheless be overcome. As the international system matures, a Hobbesian world can give way to a Lockean world—one...

    (pp. 73-111)

    This chapter and the one that follows explore both successful and failed episodes of bilateral rapprochement. This chapter focuses exclusively on Anglo-American rapprochement at the turn of the twentieth century. This case has been carefully studied by historians; it therefore offers a wealth of material for examining both the sequential process leading to the onset of stable peace and the conditions making it possible.

    The following account of Anglo-American rapprochement will reveal that strategic necessity prompted the initial opening between London and Washington. Britain sought to befriend the United States in order to scale back the scope of its commitments...

    (pp. 112-182)

    This chapter examines four additional cases of bilateral rapprochement. Two successful cases are explored: Norway and Sweden between 1905 and 1935, and Brazil and Argentina between 1979 and 1998. Two failed cases follow: Great Britain and Japan from 1902 to 1923, and the Soviet Union and China from 1949 to 1960.

    The case of Norway and Sweden sheds important light on the causal relationship between democratization, institutionalized restraint, and stable peace. The practice of strategic restraint in Sweden advanced in step with the deepening of parliamentary democracy and the end of aristocratic rule. The resulting changes in Swedish foreign policy...

    (pp. 183-283)

    Rapprochement entails the winding down of interstate rivalry and the muting, if not elimination, of geopolitical competition; peaceful coexistence results. Security community represents a more evolved form of stable peace, one in which the states in question go beyond mutual expectations of peaceful relations and consensually arrive at a set of rules and norms to guide their interactions. Rivalry gives way to not just peaceful coexistence, but an international society pacified and ordered by institutionalized codes of conduct. The interests of the member states become conjoined rather than merely congruent. And the members come to embrace a shared identity instead...

    (pp. 284-388)

    Union is the most advanced form of stable peace. The constituent states not only escape geopolitical rivalry and embrace rules and institutions to regulate their relations, but they go on to pool their sovereignty and merge into a new political entity. In so sacrificing their individual autonomy, these states advance, in Deutsch’s words, from a “pluralistic” into an “amalgamated” security community. Unions differ from security communities in several important respects. In a security community, interests are conjoined and identity shared. In a union, interests are unitary and identity is common. Security communities rely primarily on intergovernmental cooperation; member states send...

    (pp. 389-414)

    This book has focused on two principal questions. First, through what pathway do states succeed in setting aside their grievances, escape geopolitical competition, and construct a relationship that precludes the prospect of armed conflict? In short, how do enemies become friends? Second, under what circumstances do zones of stable peace form and under what circumstances do they fail? In short, when and why do enemies become friends?

    The case studies have provided straightforward answers to these questions. As to the pathway to stable peace, its onset is triggered by strategic necessity and subsequently unfolds through four phases. At the outset,...