When two hostile parties are at the edge of a direct conflict that would undermine the series or make it unacceptably violent for the premise, a higher power (ranging from parents or school officials up to [[DeusExMachina god-like beings]]) will often intervene to [[StatusQuoIsGod maintain the status quo]].

This can have the effect of forcing two groups of enemies into regular contact with each other, while preventing the fight from escalating, driving the plot into other forms of conflict (e.g., school contests, supporting opposing factions of minor groups, etc.) and not coincidentally mimicking the sort of uneasy peace that typified the UsefulNotes/ColdWar between the US and the USSR during the late 20th century (where the threat of total nuclear annihilation was the higher power keeping the peace between the US and Russia).

Often allows the Bad Guys to taunt the heroes with impunity. If so, there will almost certainly be at least one scene where one of the heroes has to be held back by their teammates, usually while they shout something like "Let me at em!"

It's common for there to be a pair of StarCrossedLovers separated from each other by being on different sides of the fight.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In ''Manga/ToLoveRu'', Rito is forced to go to school with Yami, the infamous alien assassin known throughout the galaxy who wants to kill Rito, but doesn't because she's best friends with his sister. She will however try if he does anything ecchi towards her [[AccidentalPervert which has Rito narrowly escaping death on a daily basis]].
* In ''Manga/LastExile'', the countries of Anatoray and Disith are engaged in a long and bloody war under the supervision of the mysterious Guild, which directs the official battles which take place in the air between the country's respective air forces. The enforcement comes into play when one side gains too much of an advantage and is stopped forcefully by the forces of the Guild, in order to maintain the {{status quo|IsGod}}.
* In the ''Manga/AhMyGoddess'' universe, actual battle between the gods and demons is prevented by the Doublet System. Kill someone from either side and someone else from the opposite side would literally drop dead on the spot. As no one (save one notable exception) knows who their doublet is, this prevents the saner ones from simply starting Ragnarok early. For the insane ones there's always the direct intervention of the Daimakaichou or the Almighty.
* ''Manga/OnePiece'': The Whitebeard War ends this way, as [[spoiler:Shanks]] intervenes and threatens to take on any side if they don't stop the senseless violence. In this case, this is likely a short-term solution, as [[spoiler:Shanks and his crew]] are about equal in power to the other factions. The only reason the threat held weight is because all the factions (Luffy's allies, the Whitebeard Pirates, the Blackbeard Pirates, and the World Government) were too weakened from the fighting up till that point. On a wider scale, the men in charge of the World Government spend most of their screen time worrying about the balance of power between the Marines, the Seven Warlords of the Sea, and the Four Emperors.
* ''Anime/ParallelTroubleAdventureDual'' utilized a very literal example of this trope. The two warring [[HumongousMecha mecha]] factions in the show only fought at pre-scheduled places and times, and the pilots were allowed to [[GracefulLoser tap out]] when it looked like were going to lose. As in the [[TruthInTelevision real life]] Cold War, the point of this was to keep the world from being [[StoryboardingTheApocalypse wrecked]] by the [[WeaponOfMassDestruction weapons of mass destruction]] possessed by both sides.
* ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'': Many of the individual novel plots revolve around some radical person or group trying to upset the balance of power between Magic and Science, often in a rather public manner. This results in both sides dispatching agents to stop them, since while Academy City and the various Churches around the world are at odds with one another, they do not want the conflict to spill over into the public eye. In fact, the one time the conflict actually does get big enough that the public notices it, [[spoiler:it starts WorldWarIII]]. It isn't entirely clear how the Magic side got the {{masquerade}} going again after ''that'' debacle.
* Episode 9 of ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAs'' has a cross with this and ChanceMeetingBetweenAntagonists when Nanoha and Fate plan a surprise hospital visit to Hayate on Christmas Eve while the Wolkenritter were there. They're allowed to complete the visit, but as soon as all the Muggles were gone...

* The planets Apokolips and New Genesis in Franchise/TheDCU. The explanation was given in ''Comicbook/NewGods'' #7 in the story "The Pact", which resulted in the characters of Orion and Mister Miracle.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In fandoms where ShipToShipCombat is prevalent, many of the major message boards have rules against flaming other members or ships, preventing the ship wars from becoming too terribly violent. The major ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' boards in particular are known to clamp down heavily hard on flame wars between Kataang and Zutara shippers.
* [[http://www.mst3kinfo.com/history/page9.html The Great Joel vs Mike Flamewar]] that broke out in ''[[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 MST3K]]'' fandom when the latter took over hosting duties for the former in 1994 pitted [=MSTie=] against [=MSTie=] and very nearly wiped out all life as we know it. These days on ''[[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 MST3K]]'' message boards, it's generally a topic discussed in only the most coldly logical, unemotional terms lest ancient hatreds come to the fore. Flaming people over it is swiftly and brutally punished by moderators.

* [[TrueNeutral Papa Midnight's]] bar in ''Film/{{Constantine}}'' is a friendly little watering hole where demons and angels hang out with one ''very'' enforced rule: No fighting.

* The Gryffindor/Slytherin conflict in ''Literature/HarryPotter''.
** Including one specific scene in ''[[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets Chamber of Secrets]]'' with the "Let me at 'em!" mentality, in which three of the Gryffindor boys have to physically restrain Ron from hitting Draco Malfoy. (To be fair to Ron, Draco ''has'' just said he was sorry Hermione didn't get killed by the Basilisk.)
** Comes out in full force around Quidditch matches, where Gryffindors and Slytherins usually end up in the hospital wing with antlers and leeks in their body. During the [[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix fifth book]] Harry had to walk with a protective guard of Gryffindors because the Slytherins kept trying to sabotage him.
* The treaty between Watches in the ''Literature/NightWatch'' 'verse, which is openly inspired (bordering on the {{Anvilicious}} actually) by the actual Cold War. Add two millennia-old [[TheChessmaster Chessmasters]] with magic powers enough to make the most absurd GambitRoulette seem timid. [[spoiler: The Inquisition is the higher power here.]] Technically, the [[spoiler:Inquisition]] doesn't have a ''lot'' of magical power, most of which comes from artifacts and amulets anyway. The idea is that, should either of the sides break the Treaty, the [[spoiler:Inquisition]] would [[KingmakerScenario throw their support behind the other side, tipping the balance]]. Thus, their power is mostly political.
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', the White Council and the vampire Courts start the series in an uneasy peace, enforced by the terms of the Unseelie Accords. Eventually Dresden is forced to choose between letting his lover die and starting the magical equivalent of World War III; this is of course a classic setup for TakeAThirdOption. [[spoiler:Only not in this case. Dresden [[AlwaysSaveTheGirl chooses World War III]], with enormous repercussions in later books. He later says that the vamps were probably just looking for an excuse anyway and all he did was set it off a little earlier.]]
* Inverted in the Creator/IsaacAsimov story, "The Gentle Vultures". In it, pacifist, herbivorous aliens go from world to world to help the survivors of the nuclear war that inevitably breaks out in every intelligent species except them. This help is given in return for tribute in the form of resources, creating a form of economic imperialism. When the aliens get to Earth, though, they discover that the Cold War situation is keeping nuclear war from occurring, and may do so indefinitely. [[spoiler: They then decide to force things by causing a nuclear war themselves. However, when a human that they abduct for information castigates them and compares them to carrion-eaters, they become horrified at the idea of what they're about to do and leave Earth to its own devices.]]
* In the ''Literature/StarTrekNewFrontier'' novel ''Cold Wars'', the Aeron and the Markanians had a long drawn-out war over the Holy Site on their world. The Thallonian Empire forcibly relocated them to separate planets with no space travel. Unfortunately for everyone, {{Sufficiently Advanced Alien}}s decide to supply them with portal devices.
** Meanwhile, in ''Literature/HowMuchForJustThePlanet'', both Klingon and Starfleet crews make references to the Organian Treaty, with neither side being particularly enthusiastic about the idea of incurring the Organians' wrath. This being a rather farcical tale, the Klingons also refer to the Organians as "Light Bulbs".
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' a very comedic example in the FeudingFamilies Venturi and Selachii. They are forbidden by law to talk about any topics on whch they can disagree, leading to them having conversations consisting entirely of CaptainObvious statements like "I see we are both standing."
* A likely interpretation of the situation in the ''Literature/LandOfOz.'' The King and Queen of Oz died (or disappeared) suddenly, with only an infant heir left behind. The [[TheArchmage four most powerful magic users]] in the land were looking to start trouble (the Witches of North and South allied against the Witches of East and West). Then in comes Oscar Diggs, a third-rate con artist and MagnificentBastard, who lands in Oz by accident and uses a combination of mistaken identity, carnival tricks, stage magic, and {{Steampunk}} technology to trick the four Witches into thinking he's more powerful than they are! He sets himself up as GodEmperor in the Emerald City, makes the infant heir vanish ([[MadeASlave by sending her into slavery]], [[GenderBender bespelled as the wrong gender]]), and things more or less stabilize...[[SpannerIntheWorks until some girl from Kansas shows up]], squishes the East Witch flat on accident, and throws the whole balance off.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'':
** The Organian Peace Treaty, forced on the Federation and the Klingons by {{Sufficiently Advanced Alien}}s who found war in their backyard distasteful. This lead to a series of more direct Cold War metaphors, such as both sides intervening in a border planet's war.
** ''Deep Space Nine'' also had the sixth season opening arc in which the Dominion was in control of the station. To avoid collateral damage, Bajor did not ally with the Federation, so the main characters affiliated with the Bajoran government stayed on-board and worked side by side with the occupation forces. (Then again, they did eventually form an active resistance cell.)
** Though in general, ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Deep Space Nine]]'' subverted this, as the Dominion and the Federation, who were hostile toward each other since they met in season 2, eventually did go to war at the end of season 5.
** The franchise is filled with Cold War metaphors- The Romulans, The Cardassians, The Klingons and The Federation are all more-or-less in a state of this throughout the series to various degrees, punctuated by moments of EnemyMine alliances and outright conflict. Several storylines involve attempts to cause or avoid outright war.
* In the 1970s ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|1978}}'', the fleet encounters a planet named Terra, occupied by two factions on the brink of nuclear war with one another. In this instance, the Galactica plays the role of the sufficiently advanced being, shooting down both factions' missiles as they attempt to launch and intimidating them into pursuing peaceful negotiation.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'':
** Most drow live like that, in the framework of [[EvilMatriarch Lolth]] [[ReligionOfEvil theocracy]]: otherwise infighting turns into AxCrazy all-out war and then genocide -- and [[GodsNeedPrayerBadly she needs them alive]].
** In ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms'' setting: enforced in the House wars of Menzoberranzan: espionage, conspiracy and secret raids against rival houses are permitted, even encouraged, but woe be to those who get caught. Failures to enforce it caused whole cities to be utterly destroyed (Golothaer, [[http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Great_Bhaerynden Bhaerynden aka Telantiwar]] aka ''Great Rift''), ruined and taken by external force ([[http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Insurrection Ched Nasad]]) or weakened and massacred by neighbours ([[http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Maerimydra Maerimydra]]). Menzoberranzan barely escaped the same fate ''twice'' during Silence of Lolth (seven months) alone. And Baenre rule Menzoberranzan because it was their matron who said "stop the madness" when all-out fight began, Menzoberra was killed and the cavern itself seriously reshaped. They are ''that'' aggressive.
** In the Eberron setting, the Last War dragged on for around 100 years and only fizzled out because one of the five major nations involved was wiped out overnight and no one knows how or why. The source material makes it pretty clear that if one of the other nations involved ever became sure what happened and specifically that it wouldn't happen to them, the Last War would need a new name ... perhaps the Next-to-Last War.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'': Oddly enough, given that in the forty-first millennium there is only war, this occurs for varying stretches of time between the Imperium of Man and various alien empires simply due to the fact that while the Imperium or said alien empire is tied up elsewhere a hostile peace exists between them. This occurs mostly with races such as the Tau Empire, which has on-off peaces with the Imperium on its border, rather than AxCrazy races like the Orks or all-devouring galactic munchers like the Tyranids.
** The Kryptmann gambit: an Inquisitor successfully diverted a tyranid Hive Fleet directly into the massive ork empire of Octavius where both forces are equally matched. Now orks are flocking to join the ForeverWar (and their dead release spores that grow into more orks) while the Tyranids are continuously replenishing their strength from all the biomatter. The problem, of course, is that whichever side wins will be near unstoppable...
* In ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'''s Ravnica Block, the different guilds keep the peace using the Guildpact. It sets statutes and ordinances for each guild so that each of the ten guilds has its own place. Of course, this doesn't stop the various guild leaders from trying to find as many loopholes as possible.
* In the [[TabletopGame/StarFleetBattles Star Fleet Universe]], which is based on ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' (and veers sharply from the canon Franchise/StarTrek universe from there) had the Organian Peace Treaty, that is until they up and vanish right as Federation-Klingon tensions are at their highest, leading the Second Four Powers War to evolve into The General War. After the General War, the Interstellar Concordium tried to do this by forcibly separating the exhausted former combatants.

* OlderThanSteam: ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'' is, [[ZerothLaw of course]], the Ur-Example.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* An interesting variant shows up in ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'': the Republic and the Sith are very much openly at war with each other, but both sides are dependent on trade with the neutral planet of Manaan, which supplies a unique and very valuable organic compound used in medical supplies that neither army can do without. Thus, both the Republic and the Sith maintain a military presence and an embassy on Manaan, but have to avoid direct conflict lest the government cut off trade with the aggressor, and many of the quests on the planet are outright illegal acts of espionage against the Sith. Low level conflicts sometimes occur (such as a "Let me at them!" type BarBrawl) which do not go condoned, but punishment is usually limited to minor trade sanctions as long as the conflict does not escalate.
** Kolto (the compound supplied by Manaan) is eventually pushed out by the much more effective and widely-available bacta. Say good-bye to neutrality.
** In ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'', the Republic and the Sith Empire are this state due to the Treaty of Coruscant. While neither side is willing to openly break the treaty, border skirmishes are common and both sides support proxy rebellions to seize control over various worlds. To a small degree, this also has lead to both sides employing Smugglers and Bounty Hunters so they can claim deniability that they weren't doing anything ''officially'' sanctioned. Over the course of the game, the peace eventually dissolves into open war.
*** Not all Sith were happy with the Treaty. In fact, the original diplomatic mission was merely a diversion while a Sith fleet assaulted Coruscant itself. It was expected that the planet would undergo orbital bombardment, crippling the Republic. TheEmperor then suddenly decides to make the fake diplomatic mission a real one and offers a trade: Coruscant for a number of Republic worlds.
*** Seeing as one walkthrough of the capital planets of both factions proves that the Empire's manpower, infrastructure, industrial capability, and scientific development is miles behind the Republic (their capitol city is the size of a Republic core world military base, they don't have a ''paved road'' to their spaceport, meaning anything coming from the spaceport to their capitol is marching through mud trails through beast-infested jungle), coupled with boneheaded FantasticRacism, an untenable reliance on slave labor that wastes at least half of their manpower (they have the slaves building monuments to the Darths' egos, not roads or outposts), constant infighting, and KlingonPromotion being not only acceptable but ''accepted'' practice (leaving them with even ''fewer'' experienced Force Users, officers, and administrators while their replacement's only real qualification is being quicker on the draw), one could argue that the Treaty of Coruscant saved the ''Empire's'' bacon. Unfortunately, it plays ''right'' into the [[OmnicidalManiac Emperor's]] hands, since he doesn't care about his own Empire and just wants to kill off everything in the universe except himself.
* Heavily implied to be the sole purpose of Ravens' NEST in ''VideoGame/ArmoredCore'' (and its later incarnations: Nerves Concord, Global Cortex and Raven's Ark). When Companies are strong enough to wield walker mechs, floating battleships and everything in-between, only skilled, non-affiliated [[GunsForHire Ravens]] can keep or even ''enforce'' a level playing field between feuding Companies. This is subverted in later incarnations of ''Armored Core 3'' timeline, where the then Raven organization, Ravens' Ark, was, in essence, "bought" by Companies, triggering the conflict in Last Raven.
* A large part of the ''VideoGame/EscapeVelocity Override'' galaxy is inhabited by a loose confederation of alien races called the Crescent. Three of them, the Adzgari, Zidagar, and Igadzra, are in a perpetual state of MeleeATrois managed by a group called the Council who intervene to make sure none of them grow too powerful. In the planned sequel (a FanSequel, but the project was started and the original design made by the developer of the original ''Override'', even if he [[PromotedFanboy technically]] still counted as a fan), this would have been abandoned -- the Council's primary (indeed, for most purposes sole -- for the thing to work it was critically important that the Council's interference not be known to the Strands) method of keeping the war going and balanced was its extensive network of operatives amongst the three. The problem was that the Council had ''no'' human operatives, so when humans start showing up and taking sides, the Strand War is nearly fatally destabilized. Instead, the Council opts for something that's arguably closer to this trope -- just directly taking control of the three Strands. The Strands still don't ''like'' each other, but under the Council and its agents they're forced to remain at peace and start assimilating into each-other.
* This is (or rather, was) the premise of ''Videogame/LeagueOfLegends''. The nation-states nearly destroyed their homeworld, Runeterra, in a catastrophic series of Rune Wars, so the Institute of War was formed by a band of powerful mages to suppress all open violence. Campaigns are conducted by Champion, chosen from a pool of individuals who are in the titular League for various reasons. The nation-states are still scheming, but they have to do it quietly.
* This is a key element of the little-known campy 90s RTS game ''Videogame/GeneWars''. The world has been decimated by war, now you and the other warring factions have been tasked to rebuild it together by a superior peaceful alien race called The Ethereals. Of course the real aim of the game is conquest, wiping the other factions out. However, the Ethereals come to check on you every now and then so you have to watch the clock and fight your battles in between visits or they'll punish you for your insolence by wiping you from the planet.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* "The Baron's Peace" in ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' is one of these, keeping most of Europe's factions and noble houses in line via the principle of "Don't make me come over there." Said Baron is an [[TheUnfettered Unfettered]] WellIntentionedExtremist who will do anything to maintain peace, and he controls an unequaled superpower that lets him do so. He is an old and very experienced mad scientist, in a setting where most of them tend to die quite young. He leads the continent's largest military force, overwhelming air superiority, and the most advanced military hardware/clockwork troops/mutant brigades. After a ZombieApocalypse he was personally responsible for rebuilding European society through willpower and force, and for sectioning off the parts of it which are toxic or infested. He doesn't care how much the nobility squabble over land or ancestry, but if a battle ever breaks out, he shuts down both sides with [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill complete overkill]]. That is ''The Baron's Peace''.
** Unfortunately, the consequences become all-too-apparent once the baron is out of commission for two and a half years: sparks and nobles prove themselves to be the harbingers of chaos, tearing apart the empire in a matter of months, years of tension finally snapping and forcing out a huge explosion. Everyone starts begging for the empire to come back because constant, unregulated warfare made everything WORSE.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'' revolves around two ostensibly warring factions who rarely attack each other and never do it effectively, with the only medic blatantly working for both armies. This should have been a bigger tip-off that Red and Blue were in fact commanded by the same government, and the war was a construct. Of course, the teams are also idiots.
* In ''Literature/{{Worm}}'', while supervillains and superheroes fight constantly, the existence of the [[OmnicidalManiac Endbringers]] has precipitated the allowance of some basic rules, to avoid weakening humanity as a whole in the face of annihilation. Unless they get caught too many times, cause too much mayhem, or are truly monstrous, most supervillains are placed in weak custody from which they inevitably break out before their trials, and their identities are not revealed. By the same token, the villains refrain from targeting civilian identities and try to avoid killing superheroes.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/XMenEvolution'', the Xavier Institute students and the Brotherhood boys attend the same high school, at least keeping them civil on campus. Magneto also kept the latter party from accidentally exposing the existence of mutants ([[spoiler:he wanted to do that on ''his'' terms, not theirs]]).
* In the late second season of ''WesternAnimation/{{WITCH}}'', the heroines are unable to defeat BigBad Nerissa because she possesses the Heart of Meridian. Only two people can take it from her, and one of them is imprisoned inside of it. The other? [[spoiler:Season one BigBad Phobos, whom the girls must free from imprisonment so he can take the Heart from Nerissa.]] They disguise him as a student at their school, and for a brief time, HilarityEnsues as FishOutOfWater [[spoiler:Phobos]] stumbles through the trials and tribulations of high-school life. However, [[spoiler:the alliance lasts all of one and a half episodes, as Phobos decides to screw over the heroines once getting the Heart away from Nerissa]].
* In the third season of ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'', The [[WeirdTradeUnion Guild of Calamitous Intent]] forces AffablyEvil supervillain The Monarch to give up Dr. Venture as his arch-nemesis and find somebody else to antagonize. He doesn't take it well.
* ''WesternAnimation/CodeLyoko'': The Supercomputer is the team's main resource, and Aelita's survival is dependent on it. It also happens to house their enemy XANA [[spoiler:-- until the end of Season 2.]]

[[folder: Real Life]]
* Arguably, the ''original'' Cold War was enforced as well, not by God or {{Sufficiently Advanced Alien}}s but by fear of the consequences - best-case scenario was a body count to rival the First World War, worst-case was the extinction of all life on earth. - if [[WorldWarIII it went hot]].
* UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar was pretty much the culmination of a cold war which the free states and slave states had been waging against each other since about the UsefulNotes/WarOf1812. The Civil War wasn't even the first time this conflict turned hot (hello Bleeding Kansas). It was enforced by the federal government, which generally tried to maintain peace between the two sides without ever addressing the real issue.