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How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace (Princeton Studies in International History and Politics) Hardcover – February 14, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


Finalist for the 2011 Estoril Global Issues Distinguished Book Prize
Honorable Mention for the 2011 Arthur Ross Book Award, Council on Foreign Relations

"Kupchan's magisterial accomplishment, drawing on an extraordinary range of theories and cases, is to provide an overarching account of when and why countries in conflict move toward stable peace. . . .This book will be read by scholars and policy thinkers for a very long time."--G. John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs

"Kupchan has a lucid style and writes with authority and wisdom. In the course of his argument, he knocks firmly on the head a number of dangerously misleading nostrums."--G. R. Berridge, Hague Journal of Diplomacy

"[Kupchan] is one of those rare Americans with a genuinely global view of international relations. . . . By the time he reaches the end of his brilliant analysis, Kupchan has shown that diplomacy and wilful compromise are the real foundations of peace."--Gilles Andreani,Survival

"This wide-ranging comparative historical study seeks to discover why and how some adversaries not only achieved friendship but created zones of durable peace."--Choice

"How Enemies Become Friends is an ambitious book, which, through a combination of theoretical understanding and in-depth case studies, delivers a powerful argument that champions Obama's policy of engagement with Iran and China. Such an important topic demands vigorous analysis, which Kupchan is well qualified to deliver. . . . This book is entitled to serious consideration by those in the field of international relations."--Grace Nicholls, Majalla

"[A] learned, lucid, fascinating account."--Robert Cornwall, Christian Century

"How Enemies Become Friends is a highly important contribution to the debate in the United States on how to manage U.S. foreign and security policy in a world of considerably reduced U.S. power. Above all, Kupchan provides the historical and theoretical underpinning for ideas of strategic accommodation: the need for America to take large-scale and visible steps to acknowledge the power and the interests of other states, and, when necessary, to scale back its own regional ambitions and roles. . . . The greatest strength of Kupchan's book is its extraordinarily wide-ranging account of different processes of strategic accommodation, restraint, and reconciliation through history--including a number of examples that are very rarely examined in international relations studies (the case of the Iroquois, for one)."--Anatol Lieven, Democracy

"[A]n appropriately nuanced account of peacemaking that smartly frustrates traditional boundaries."--Ethics & International Affairs

"[T]his is an important and eminently practical and transparent book of value to diplomats and statesmen. . . . [I]n substance it is a clear and compelling one that, in addition, takes one into exotic politico-historic case study lore that you probably never knew before. I recommend it."--Marc E. Nicholson,

"Kupchan's theoretical enterprise is as ambitious as the scope of his empirical inquiry is impressive. . . . Kupchan gives his readers a lot of material to ponder."--Shiping Tang, World Politics

"In a fascinating . . . book, How Enemies Become Friends, Charles A. Kupchan reviews many historical case studies of how nation-states with a long history of conflict managed eventually to become secure and peaceful friends."--Robert Shiller, Project Syndicate

"His book makes an important contribution to peace studies and it provides insights into less known cases from Asia and the Arab world. . . . [H]is arguments are . . . very convincing, and he gives us a better understanding of peace in international relations."--Alexander Kleibrink, Global Policy

"[T]his book represents a provocative, compelling and eminently readable account of how international peace is forged and maintained."--Peter Harris, Political Studies Review

"How Enemies Become Friends is a very insightful and well-written book which is certain to raise interest among students and researchers in IR, policymakers, and analysts, as well as the broader audience concerned with peace in world politics."--Fernando Cavalcante, Millennium: Journal of International Studies

From the Back Cover

"Kupchan's book is fascinating, thought provoking, and consequential."--Henry Kissinger

"Using historical studies of rapprochement, security community, and union as pillars for a stable world order in the twenty-first century, Charles Kupchan once again leapfrogs conventional foreign policy wisdom. He rightly foresees the elements of and a blueprint for a new global commons, one constructed of mutual interest. This is a mature work produced by a mature thinker."--Gary Hart, former U.S. Senator

"This is a work of admirable breadth and unusual interest. Combining an interesting theoretical framework with an extraordinarily diverse set of case studies, Kupchan has produced a lucid work that should be valued by both the academic and policymaking worlds in sorting out the relationships among classic diplomacy, democracy, and peace."--Anthony Lake, Georgetown University

"In this intellectual tour de force Charles Kupchan provides a theoretically ambitious, admirably eclectic, and empirically rich account of the different worlds of international relations that are normally studied in isolation: anarchy, rapprochement, security community, and union. Statecraft not regime attributes, and politics not economic interdependence, put enemies on the pathway to peace, starting with unilateral accommodation and ending with the generation of new narratives and identities. This is a big book in every sense of the word and a major scholarly achievement."--Peter J. Katzenstein, Cornell University

"Theoretically ambitious and historically audacious, How Enemies Become Friends is an invaluable and timely contribution to our understanding of the causes of war and peace. Grounded in international relations scholarship and informed by an intimate knowledge of the actual practice of international security, Kupchan's book deserves to be read by scholars and practitioners alike."--Michael Barnett, University of Minnesota

"This is an extremely ambitious book about a very important topic. It delivers through a well-crafted combination of theoretical innovation and detailed case studies. Kupchan offers a powerful and carefully assembled argument that will have a substantial impact on the field of international relations."--Daniel Deudney, Johns Hopkins University


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Product Details

  • Series: Princeton Studies in International History and Politics
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; First Edition edition (February 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691142653
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691142654
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,334,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By The Machine on May 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Making peace between nations is less sexy than making war but Atlanticist Charles Kupchan delivers. His basic thesis is that stable peace can occur through a four-phase process: unilateral accommodation; reciprocal restraint between nations; societal integration; and the generation of new narratives and identities. Kupchan further argues that stable peace emerges when three conditions are present among states: institutionalized restraint, compatible social orders and cultural commodity. In the absence of one or more of these conditions, stable peace will not endure. To support his argument, Kupchan provides detailed historical examples where peace has succeeded and failed: U.S. and Great Britain (success); Norway and Sweden (success); Brazil and Argentina (success); China and Russia (failure); and Great Britain and Japan (failure). While brillantly luminating the historical successes and failures of stable peace in the 19th and 20th Centuries, Kupchan could have tested his hypothesis on the Israeli-Egyptian peace process. Moreover, although Kupchan does not explicitly say that peace is possible in the Near East between Iran and the United States or even Iran and Israel, he is careful to imply that there are limitations to achieving stable peace.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Marc E. Nicholson on March 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I recently wrote a review of this book for, an on-line journal run by retired US diplomats (of whom I am one). With their permission, I repeat it here:

In his book "How Enemies Become Friends," Georgetown University professor and former Clinton Administration National Security Council (NSC) staff member Charles Kupchan seeks to answer two questions: what are the step-by-step processes by which nations bilaterally or multilaterally construct lasting bonds of peace (defined by Kupchan as ranging from durable rapprochement to actual federation or union), and what are the pre-conditions for the success of such efforts. The book is highly relevant as a "how to" guide for the construction of conflict-free zones, even as it is realistic in suggesting at least implicitly that the conditions necessary for such zones may be more the exception than the rule in much of today's world. Kupchan's book thus is idealistic in its goals but tempered by pragmatism, perhaps reflecting its author's background as both an academic and a practitioner of foreign policy.

That dual background is similarly reflected in the book's style and approach. Kupchan opens with a jargon-filled review of past academic and theoretical literature bearing on the issue, then proceeds to lay out his own answers in the form of a model. The bulk of the book thereafter is devoted to a wide-ranging set of case studies of both successful and unsuccessful efforts at rapprochement, formal rule-bound security communities, and actual unions of sovereign states, in light of whose experiences Kupchan seeks to support and fine-tune his conclusions.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The well presented text is both a boon and a bust. Given the contemporary political scene around the globe, and what is in my view the incredible abdication of responsible moral thinking by US policy makers in the Middle East and in the Islamic world from Morocco and the Sahel all the way to Asia, this book is a splendid example of the dangers of painting the political world with broad brushstrokes.

Mr. Kupchan is a highly influential adviser to the current Obama Administration. While I agree that his suggestions and observations have a high degree of applicability in the Western world, I strongly disagree on their applicability in the Islamic world from western Africa through to the Philippines.

In a time when simply accessing Islamic sources, would suggest a highly hateful, vengeful, retributive foreign and domestic policy atmosphere based upon the more conservative reading and application of the Koran and basic Islamic commentaries, Mr. Kupchan's ideas strike me as being not just highly naive but also damnably dangerous. I feel it will be a very long time before the views of HOW ENEMIES BECOME FRIENDS will have the slightest degree of applicability let alone real utility, in much of the Islamic world. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will need a vast number of religious supporters before the politics of Islamic states would be even slightly responsive to the views of Mr. Kupchan.

I would be totally delighted to be proved wrong over time; however, I will lay the responsibility for nuclear war starting in the Middle East squarely upon his shoulders, and those who have slavishly taken his views to heart.
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