What does it mean to say that “The enemy of my enemy is my friend?”
The phrase the enemy of my enemy is my friend is a proverb that advances the concept that because two parties have a common enemy, they can work with each other to advance their common goals. Often described as an Arabic proverb, there is also an identical Chinese proverb.
In foreign policy, it’s a doctrine commonly used to interact with a significant enemy through an intermediary rather than through direct confrontation.
Examples throughout history are common, such as longtime enemies Britain and France uniting against Germany during World War I, the Western capitalist democracies aiding the Soviet Union following the Nazi invasion during World War II, or U.S. support for anti-Communist dictatorships during the Cold War.