Popular Science

In war, it's not just your allies that matter—their allies matter too. And so do theirs.

Friends of friends of friends are basically friends
South Korean Marines in Mongolia

Hilda Becerra, U.S. Marine Corps, via Wikimedia Commons

South Korean Marines in Mongolia

The marines are training for peacekeeping operations.

The friend of my friend is probably not my enemy. At least, that’s the finding from Ohio State political scientist Skyler Cranmer, together with co-authors Caitlin Clary, Aisha Bradshaw, and Weihua Li. Nations with formal alliances tend to remain at peace, naturally, but according to the study published last week, it’s not just that the allies themselves who play nice.

“We looked at how a country

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