Friendship, Mutual Trust and the Evolution of Regional Peace in the International System

Andrea Oelsner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


International Relations scholars have been reluctant to engage with questions of friendship in the international system. This may be a consequence of the predominance of (neo)realism in IR and its implications – to view the international arena as an anarchic, self-help system, where states are trapped in the security dilemma. However, over the last six decades, some regions have overcome the security dilemma and states have constructed peaceful relationships based on mutual trust and confidence, resembling friendship at the interstate level. Building upon securitization theory, this essay distinguishes between different perceptions that states may have of their own security, and links them with different types of regional peace. It proposes a two-phase process whereby relationships may move from negative to positive peace, suggesting different mechanisms for each phase. It illustrates this model by examining the Argentine–Brazilian détente of the late 1970s and the determination to build a zone of positive peace in Latin America’s Southern Cone.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-279
Number of pages23
JournalCritical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • international friendship
  • securitization
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • international relations


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