When Opponents Cooperate

Great Power Conflict and Collaboration in World Politics
Benjamin Miller
A multilevel theory of international relations that accounts for intended and unintended outcomes of cooperation and conflict


The bipolar structure of the Cold War allowed certain stability in world politics that, with the demise of the Soviet Union, is now missing. Does this mean that we can expect greater instability because of the anticipated structural transition from bipolarity to multipolarity? Or should we feel reassured that changes on the state level such as democratization and the transition to market economies that are occurring in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and, to some extent, in the Soviet successor states, are in effect promoting peace? Moreover, following the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, and the decline in domestic constraints on U.S. intervention, can we expect greater or lesser stability in the various regions of the world?

When Opponents Cooperate addresses these questions by formulating a new theory of international relations that integrates state-level and structural-level analyses. The key is to focus on intended and unintended outcomes of cooperation and conflict.

Praise / Awards

  • "Ambitious in its goals, impressive in its achievements, this is a major contribution to international relations theory. The author offers a creative synthesis and discriminating assessment of the voluminous theoretical and empirical literature on the subject of great power conflict and cooperation."
    —Alexander George, Stanford University
  • "When Opponents Cooperate contains a provocative and insightful analysis of how system structure and state level characteristics operate to both promote and hinder cooperation."
    —George W. Downs, Princeton University
  • "When Opponents Cooperate should be read by all serious students of world politics, as it is a sophisticated effort to employ international relations theory to understand the post-Cold War world. Specifically, the book attempts to explain cooperation among states with an innovative argument that marries together systemic factors and domestic politics."
    —John J. Mearsheimer, University of Chicago
  • "A book for our time. Miller considers the implications of present profound changes in today's structure of international politics. Rather than merely stating his propositions, he persistently reaches for explanations. A major contribution."
    —Kenneth N. Waltz, University of California, Berkeley
  • "Benjamin Miller offers in this comprehensive and sophisticated book an impressive synthesis of some of the most important analytical perspectives in international relations theory. This lucid reexamination of theoretical approaches will be especially welcome by those seeking to reexamine basic assumptions that have been put into question by the end of the Cold War."
    —Peter J. Katzenstein, Cornell University
  • "Miller's ambitious and theoretically sophisticated book attempts to explain great power conflict and cooperation in security affairs. . . . A talented grand theorist, Miller skillfully synthesizes elements from competing theoretical perspectives to cast new light on seemingly familiar ideas. . . . [The book] raises important theoretical and empirical puzzles and advances many plausible explanations. Informed by keen theoretical insight and imagination, Miller's book is a valuable addition to anyone seeking to understand what makes the clock tick in international relations."
    Journal of Politics

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Copyright © 1995, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 384pp.
  • tables, figures.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2002
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-08872-0

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  • $37.95 U.S.