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Enemy Mine / Real Life

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Trope Namer

  • The proverb is of either ancient Arabic or Chinese origin, but the closest you're going to get to a Trope Namer is Niccolò Machiavelli, who coined this principle: the neighbour is the natural enemy; hence the neighbour to the neighbour is the natural ally.
  • Another proverb, which provides the Alt Title for this trope: "War and politics make strange bedfellows." Usually quoted with either war or politics mentioned alone, as appropriate for the situation.

Business and Commerce

  • Companies like Google and Microsoft have always had their conflicts. But as soon as bills like SOPA showed their fangs? Suddenly, the entire internet was united to fight back. Whether the companies fight for freedom or money is unknown, but no one seemed to care anyway.
    • And now that the FCC is threatening to end Net Neutrality, the backlash is stronger than ever. People across all party lines are up in arms to protect freedom of the Internet.
  • Automotive example: Holden and Toyota teamed up to produce the Holden Commodore VR and the Toyota Lexcen. However, the Lexcen was not a export model, but solely an Australian version of the Commodore, but without the Commodore's big, brash, American V8 engine, instead only getting a Buick V6 engine. This was created so Toyota had a rival for the Ford Falcon (apparently the 1991-1995 Toyota Camry, incidentally, this was sold as a Holden too, the Holden Apollo being roughly the same size as a BMW 3-Series), a big car, and one of the Asia-Pacific region's biggest sellers. Needless to say, General Motors' (owners of Holden) alliance with Toyota ceased in 2005.
  • The world of high-end electronics works in weird ways. Building a chip fab is eye-wateringly expensive and complicated, and thus there is a limited number of enterprises in the world that can build advanced processors, memory and what have you. Also, high-level research is expensive and time-consuming, so the few really successful designs tend to stay dominant for a while and be licensed to everybody. As a result, strange collaborations spring up.
    • Pentax and Sony have long been rivals in the budget-conscious DSLR market (the primary market being squarely dominated by Canon and Nikon), but from the K-x onward Pentax has stopped using its own sensors and uses Sony ones under license.
    • For a long time Apple used Samsung-provided memory and screens, despite Samsung being their most dangerous rival on the market. This particular relationship ended sourly when Samsung proved more dangerous than at first thought, and Apple started a string of expensive legal proceedings against them. Samsung said "well, fuck that" and is no longer making much of anything for Apple.
    • Apple and Samsung also have a common Enemy Mine: Qualcomm (who produce system-on-chip, or SoC, platforms for tablets and cellphones). The former needs them for cellular modems and the latter uses their chips for US versions of phones, even though they have their own SoC.
    • In November 2017, Intel announced that it would partner with AMD to create a CPU + GPU package. That is, Intel wanted an on-package GPU that was better than their own integrated ones and they went with their heated rival over GPU manufacturer NVIDIA.
  • In the midst of a certain ugly and rather scandalous dispute between CBS and Time Warner Cable, TWC's biggest competitors voiced their support for TWC against CBS's underhanded and consumer-unfriendly anti-TWC tactics.


  • Infamous American gangster "Lucky" Luciano bargained for his release from prison after claiming that he could protect American wharfs from saboteurs with gangster muscle. Some people suspect that it was actually Luciano's men, if anyone, who were causing the problems in the first place.
    • Luciano also supposedly made available contacts in Sicily to military intelligence during the Italian campaign, a claim that he also later denied. Given that the Fascists intended to wipe the Mafia out, the claim has some credence. This also surfaced with the invasion of France, where the Corsican Mafia agreed to provide intelligence in return for the US glossing over their drug operations to American ports. This developed into the "French connection" of infamy, and the relationship between the Corsican Mafia and CIA later proved useful for using them as local "muscle" to bust the French Communist-run dockers union when they struck in Marseilles, preventing the US shipping needed military supplies over to help France hold down Vietnam (not that it worked forever anyway).
  • Gang bangers in small cities have been know to team up against police and non-local gangs moving in then go back to fighting each other again.
  • Police Brutality has often united gangs, in a lot of cases even caused several gang truce. For example The Watts Truce.


  • George Takei attempted to reconcile the feud between Star Trek and Star Wars Fan Boys by encouraging them to unite against a greater evil — Twilight and its fans.
    • When Twilight first came along, every fandom which had ever had a rivalry with Harry Potter was suddenly allied with the Potter fans against the Twilight fans.
  • This actually happens quite a bit in music. Some genres (such as Heavy Metal and Rap) will have people who believe that they should put aside all differences and unite against other types such as pop. Look on any YouTube music video not relating to pop music.
    • Rockers and rappers are also often allied against censorship that wants to make all music family-friendly.
    • It happens quite a bit within pop music's own fan culture world too. For example, we have the alliance forged between Taylor Swift's Swifties and Lady Gaga's Little Monsters against Katy Perry and her Katycats, after the reveal of Swift's song "Bad Blood", written about Perry. Meanwhile, Gaga was already Perry's rival as the two leading way-out-there performance artist type female pop stars.
  • Electronic Arts essentially has made this happen indirectly for rival gaming communities, as 4chan, Reddit, Kotaku, and others helped them get declared 2012's Worst Company in America by The Consumerist.
  • Larry Flynt resents Woody Harrelson for his portrayal of him in The People vs. Larry Flynt, but vocally supported him when he intentionally got himself arrested for marijuana possession in protest over the law prohibiting it.
  • Slayer, bane of Religious Conservatives everywhere (at least in the 80's), released a pro-life song. (But see below.)
  • John Denver, Dee Snider, and Frank Zappa once gave an anti-censorship presentation to the Parents Music Resource Center in defense of several hip-hop and heavy metal songs.
  • Disney and Warner Bros. are age-old rivals yet in certain areas can learn to cooperate. For instance, WB got exclusive video game publishing rights to certain Disney properties as part of purchasing Avalanche Software from them. This was a year after Disney opted to exit the game industry entirely and focus on licensing.
  • In 2004, Science Fiction and Fantasy fans put aside their differences in order to unite against PublishAmerica, a book publisher that had been well known for Vanity Publishing that paid little to no attention to the quality of the books they published, yet nonetheless felt the need to proudly describe themselves as a "traditional publisher" and deride sci-fi and fantasy as "easy" and unable to produce believable stories. In response, a group of sci-fi and fantasy authors teamed up in order to create Atlanta Nights, a novel designed to be horrendously unpublishable. They purposely loaded it with an incomprehensible plot, spelling and grammar errors, and numerous inconsistencies such as characters frequently changing ages, names, and even gender, then shipped it off to PublishAmerica under the pseudonym "Travis Tea" ("travesty"). Despite the book's obvious flaws and the less-than-subtle pseudonym, "Atlanta Nights" was accepted for publishing, whereupon the team revealed the hoax and PublishAmerica quickly retracted their acceptance "upon further inspection."

New Media

  • The websites, Newgrounds, Fark, Something Awful, and 4chan have never had a relationship with each other that could quite be described as cordial, but in 2006, in response to the theft of intellectual property from YTMND by, they all joined together and proceeded to raid Ebaums, knocking the site offline for days on end.
  • American Censorship Day had a bit of this. In particular, groups like Wikipedia, Mozilla, Reddit, and Google were fighting alongside 4chan for a common cause (though this may be more of a Rivals Team Up; nobody particularly likes 4chan, but there's little actual hostility from the mentioned groups). Republican Darrell Issa also posted a tweet noting how both he and Democrat Nancy Pelosi were against SOPA.
    • The sites blacked out on that day also ranged from Bill O'Reilly's to
    • Minecraft and Roblox normally loathe one another, but both of them were able to come to the agreement that SOPA was bad mojo, causing a temporary redirection of their rivalry towards fighting against it.
  • Somewhat overlapping with Politics, below, the doxxing of Mike "Enoch" Peinovich and others associated with the neo-nazi podcast "The Daily Shoah" was apparently the result of an alliance between antifascist activists and other neo-nazis such as denizens of 8chan's notorious /pol/ who hated Peinovich for not being racist enough.


  • Blair's Law posits that "the world's multiple idiocies are slowly becoming one giant useless force" and that wildly different radicals and extremists sometimes attract. Read on for examples. The phrase was named after Tim Blair, a conservative political commentator in Australia.

Historical Politics

  • The alliance between the Kingdom of France and the Sublime Ottoman Porte; it was one of the first major alliances between a Christian and a Muslim state, directed against the Habsburg Empire.
    • And then again between Catholic France and Protestant Sweden during the Thirty Years' War; once again to limit the Habsburg power. Cardinal Richelieu practically invented realpolitik. Sweden also was for a short time allied with its Arch-Enemy Denmark-Norway during the war...but then Denmark-Norway allied with the Habsburgs in the late part of the war.
  • Another great example from history is the Catholics and the Protestants for teaming up against the Anabaptists. In the end they took back the city of Münster and then called it a day for their alliance and begin to promptly fight one another again.
  • Astonishingly common in US political history, compared to other countries. In fact, both main parties were this during a great deal of their history. To make things further complicated, there often have been alliances between members of opposite parties, which sometimes lead to political realignments. Indeed, both the Whig and the Republican parties were in large part formed by different interests that teamed up in opposition to the policies of the Democratic governments of the day.
    • During the 1800 election in the United States, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson decided that they hated Aaron Burr more than they hated each other, and so, when Burr and Jefferson tied in the electoral college, Hamilton persuaded the House of Representatives to vote for Jefferson instead of Burr.
    • A major example would be Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal coalition. Combining the support of Southern whites, ethnic/religious/racial minorities, labor unions, the working poor, political liberals, and big city political machines, this alliance kept the Democrats in power from the early 30s until the late 60s (excluding the two Eisenhower elections of 1952 and 1956) when it fell apart due to the Democrats' factional infighting.
    • A minor but still interesting example can also be seen in the 65th Congress (1917-1919). In the 1916 elections, the Democrats had secured a majority in the Senate, but the Republicans had a slim plurality in the House of Representatives. To counter this, the Democrats convinced a number of third party Congressmen (a handful of Progressives and the House's sole Socialist) to caucus with them, giving them the required numbers for a majority.
    • It seems that the enactment of Prohibition in the US was facilitated by some very strange bedfellows indeed — Klansmen allied with militant labor unions?
  • In 1932, the Chancellor of Germany was Franz von Papen; who was almost universally disliked, had been installed by his close friend who was also an advisor of the increasingly senile President Paul von Hindenburg, and lead a cabinet of unelected technocrats. The two largest parties in the parliament were the Nazis and the Communists, who between them had enough seats to form a majority coalition but obviously couldn't govern together, not least because their supporters had been in open street brawls only days before. Papen hoped he could use the situation to dissolve parliament and take over completely, and managed to get Hindenburg to sign declarations which would have made him a dictator in all but name. When he attended the first session, the Communists immediately called a vote of no confidence. The Nazis had promised to counter the motion, but stayed conspicuously silent. When Papen tried to produce the declaration dissolving parliament and suspending future elections, the Speaker (Hermann Goering) pretended not to notice him, and Papen was forced to call another election.
  • This trope has reoccurred on a regular basis throughout Canadian history:
    • Confederation itself was begun when the Reformer George Brown offered to serve in a coalition government with the Conservative John A. Macdonald to resolve the political gridlock that had paralyzed the United Province of Canada. Their efforts to solve the problem eventually led to the Confederation agreement that founded Canada.
    • The colony of Nova Scotia was bitterly divided over whether to join Confederation or not. The question was eventually resolved when the Irish nationalist Fenians, who were trying to gain political leverage with Great Britain by attacking Canada, began raiding the colony from the United States. The pro- and anti-Confederation movements were forced to team up and eventually joined Canada in no small part due to the need for mutual defence against any American raids.
    • On the other side of the continent, British Columbia had to deal with the same question. Along with a pro-Confederation movement, the province also had an anti-Confederation movement that wanted to stay independent and an Annexation movement that wanted to join the U.S. As in Nova Scotia, the pro- and anti-Confederates eventually came together.
    • During World War I, Canada was extremely bitterly divided over the issue of conscripting men to fight in the war, to say nothing of even participating in the first place. Prime Minister Robert Borden eventually overcame the Liberal opposition by enticing a number of Liberals to join him in a "Union" government that was a glorified coalition, leaving Wilfrid Laurier with a weakened Liberal rump based mostly in Quebec. Laurier's death in 1917 further crippled the Liberals' attempts to recover.
    • In the constitutional debates of the early 1980s, the Quebec separatist Premier Rene Levesque found common cause with seven of the other nine provincial premiers, who came together in opposition to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's constitutional reforms. The "Gang of Eight", as it was called, eventually forced Trudeau to put together a compromise that addressed some of their major concerns and eventually became the 1982 constitutional patriation.
  • Ronald Reagan seemed to be a fan of this trope, and in fact saw it as a potential avenue toward world peace. He once made a speech in which he wondered how much better the world would be if space aliens invaded, thus forcing the US and the Soviet Union to put aside their differences and fight the threat together. He felt this would remind both sides of their shared humanity, and lead to an end to human conflict. Lest you think he was joking, he actually brought up this scenario in several speeches, including one to the general assembly of the United Nations.
  • Italian politics have the Trasformismo, a practice where opposing parties join together on specific issues or just to keep the extremists out of power.
    • Italian parties often have differing views on many things, but when it comes to the need of the Lateran Treaty to be upheld and continued pretty much everyone agrees, to the point that even communists and anarchists voted to include its upholding in the Italian Constitution as one of the fundamental principles. This is because the alternative would be a gigantic mess that nobody wants to deal with again (and those who voted on the Italian Constitution had actually experienced it).

Modern Politics

  • American conservatives and neocons are militantly pro-Israel; Islamic activists, as a rule, are equally militantly anti-Israel. But both factions worked together to oppose Slobodan Milosevic and his Serbian-chauvinist regime, as the latter tried to wipe out the Muslim Bosnians in the late 1990s.
    • Over in the pro-Milosevic camp were the anti-war, anti-imperialist radical left... and the pro-war, pro-imperialist radical right. It was Christopher Hitchens' belief that this was when the Left lost its way.
  • Militant feminists and the religious right disagree on almost every issue except of one: they both hate pornography. The feminists feel that it's exploitative of women; the Religious Right feel that it's immoral and sinful, and also exploitative of women.
    • The odd alliance between the Religious Right and militant feminists on the subjects of porn and prostitution has been frequently lampshaded and criticized by more moderate "sex-positive" feminists. There's considerable debate in the feminist camp as to whether or not sex work is exploitative, especially when the participants are fully willing.
    • Pornography can produce stranger alliances than this. ICANN recently approved a ".xxx" top-level domain for Internet porn; who opposed it? The Religious Right, who feared that it would legitimize pornography; and the porn industry, who feared that it would lead to stricter regulations.
    • Similar to the issue of the ".xxx" top-level domain for internet porn, both the Religious Right and the porn industry oppose to making it legal for women to go topless. The former believe that it's immoral; the latter fear a fall in demand.
      • But in several states (including New York) it IS legal for ANYONE to go topless, as long as they don't enter private businesses that request you not to (i.e. the famous "No shirt, no shoes, no service" rule).
    • Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale blames exactly this alliance (at least in part) for the creation of Gilead.
    • Militant feminists and the Christian Right are also united in not caring for burqas; both backed the burqa bans in France and Belgium. Militant feminists think burqas oppress women and restrict their rights; the Christian Right fears Islamic fundamentalism spreading in Christian (or post-Christian) societies. Meanwhile, burqas are banned in several Islamic countries, creating another Enemy Mine on the other side of the fence: religious Muslims and political liberals (in the "small l" sense of "let people do what they want within reason").
      • This lead the most famous german feminist, Alice Schwarzer, to write books against islam, to publicly symphatize with german right wing movements like PEGIDA and the AFD, and to attack Judith Butler over her support for muslim causes. Many right wingers of germany (and a few german libertarians), who in past hated Miss Schwarzer, now publically embrace her, while at the same time, feminist groups started trying to sabotage some of Miss Schwarzers public speeches.
    • Some feminists and fundamentalists also both condemn heavy rock music, both like to purge libraries of controversial books, both favor harsh 'law and order' stances against sex crimes, both suspect that that All Men Are Perverts who women must keep on the straight and narrow path, and, in extreme cases, both agree that Sex Is Evil. (Get a room, already. ... Oh, wait.)
    • Certain factions of the feminist movement have a strong distaste for the colour pink, just like chauvinistic dudebros. This irony is not lost on some of the moderate branches of feminism, who emphasize that you can reject the idea of prescribed gender roles (i.e., gender roles more or less explicitly enforced by society) without rejecting the whole concept of being feminine; hating pink, they say, can be misogynistic itself — although individuals may have good personal reasons to dislike the color.
    • Some radical feminists and fundamentalists have a transphobic streak. The conspiracy theory that trans women were really men pretending to be women so they could gain access to public restrooms and rape women started among radical feminists before being adopted by right-wing transphobes. Most feminists, including self-described radical feminists, reject transphobia today and transphobia in the feminist movement is a fringe view.
  • Islamic and Christian fundamentalists are generally opposed to each other, what with being fundamentalist supporters of different religions; but creationist works and arguments critical of Darwinism circulate freely between the two groups, as do tracts critical of homosexuality — and the terrorist lunatic fringes of both religions read the same anti-Semitic tracts, most notably The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Hilariously parodied in this YouTube video "Christian vs Muslim".
  • The two major political parties in the US territory of Puerto Rico are the Popular Democratic Party, which advocates remaining a territory, and the New Progressive Party, which advocates for statehood. Beyond that, they are broad tent parties who both contain left and right wing members — in fact, while the current governor is a member of the PDP, and the current representative in Congress is a member of the NPP, they are both also members of the Democratic party.
  • In 2006, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo tried to change the constitution to allow himself to contest for a third term in office the next year. This led to a feud with his Vice President (and heir-apparent) Atiku Abubakar. To stop the amendment, Atiku teamed up with opposition leader Muhamadu Buhari who was planning a presidential bid as well. They successfully kept Obasanjo out of the race, but their alliance fell apart soon after since neither would step aside for/endorse the other. Obasanjo's new hand-picked successor, Umaru Yar'Adua, won.
    • Yar'Adua then proceeded to die in office, leaving the presidency to the Unexpected Successor Goodluck Jonathan, who surprised everybody by actually doing a decent job and getting elected in his own right.
  • In a more martial Nigerian example, imprisoned Niger Delta rebels like Isaac Boro were released by the government and admitted into the Federal Army to help defeat the Biafran secessionists. The Niger Deltans figured being minority ethnicities in a Nigeria with 3 mutually hostile major tribes was more palatable than being minority ethnicities in a Biafra with 1 very dominant tribe, the Ibo.
  • This happens a lot on Internet debates about religion. Christian fundamentalists, atheists, and New Agers are all opposed to each other, yet in debates on religion, either the atheists will team up with the New Agers against the Christians, (as they think that fundamentalist Christianity is irrational) or the Christians will team up with the New Agers against the atheists (because they believe that atheists are against spirituality). For some reason, the Christians and atheists never team up against the New Age movement. This is generally because there just aren't enough things that New Agers do that atheists oppose that fundamentalist Christians also don't do, so there's a lack of common ground between atheists and fundamentalist Christians.
    • The reason, arguably, is that Christians are, generally, fairly ambivalent towards the New Age movement because it seems fairly non-threatening and borrows from Christianity (angels, etc), and, while atheists are generally against spirituality, they may feel they have common ground with the new-age movement as its practitioners are also a minority, something that can lead them to see the New Agers as allies, or, at least, as people less opposed to their ideology than mainstream Christianity, which a lot of them kinda hate in a big way.
      • There is room for a Christian-Atheist alliance against new-agers. Both believe in a rule-following, relatively objective universe. Or they might think the New Agers are nuts. But this alliance is very rarely seen.
  • The Westboro Baptist Church, aka the "God hates Fags" church, headed by 'Reverend' Fred Phelps, has managed to piss off absolutely everyone. Their anti-gay protests drew plenty of condemnation from both the left and right, but even the most anti-gay social conseratives were shocked by their picketing of the funerals of soldiers with signs like "God killed your children". They even got denounced by the Ku Klux Klan. How low can you get?
    • They even got The KKK and the Hell's Angels themselves working hand-in-hand with law enforcement officers and firefighters to protect the funerals of the Sandy Hook victims from this kind of nonsense and Anonymous doxing the whole flock simply for trying to protest at those funerals.
    • When WBC head Fred Phelps died in 2014, George Takei declared that the most appropriate thing to do would be to give sincere condolences to Phelps' surviving family and congregation rather than protesting his funeral in retaliation. This course of action was echoed by a massive number of conservative Christian individuals and organizations who otherwise wouldn't find themselves in agreement with Takei on most issues.
  • National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster is a group of a number of organizations that are active in various facets of disaster response. The catch? Many are religious organizations from varying theological perspectives. Catholics respond alongside Protestants. Jews respond with Muslims. So do Hindus, Buddhists and the Scientologists. And- miraculously- it all works out!
  • You might not expect Republicans like Ron Paul and the Tea Party movement to have common cause with progressive Democrats, but they've found themselves on the same side in opposition to free trade deals and continental integration. The Tea Party and its supporters see these trade deals as a threat to the sovereignty of the United States and government interference in international trade (many Tea Partiers would prefer to simply have no rules or regulations on trade at all), while their progressive allies see the trade deals as leading to jobs being offshored and labour standards being weakened in America itself.
    • The sovereignty issue is a sticking point for many left-wing nationalists in Canada as well. The progressive Council of Canadians has found itself on the same side as right-wing border groups like the American Minutemen, both of whom see continental integration as a threat to their countries' sovereignty.
    • Ron Paul and a number of Tea Partiers have also found common ground with the left-wing Occupy Wall Street, particularly over corporate welfare, Wall Street bailouts, foreign wars, marijuana legalization, and mass surveillance.
    • Most recently, there are those on both the left and right side of American politics that have united in opposition of President Obama's use of drones in warfare, particularly his failure to rule out using them on Americans on American soil!note 
    • Has happened again in December 2014, with the passing of the "CRomnibus Spending Bill"note , when Conservatives and Liberals united against the Democrat and Republican party leaders in power, namely President Obama for the Democrats, and House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel for the Republicans. The Liberals, led by Senator Elizabeth Warren and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi were angry at the bills benefits and earmark spending to big money donors, especially in removing restrictions on political donations. Conservatives, led by Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee likewise were also angry at the Republican party for immediately going back on their promises to the conservative base, promises which the Republican party had just made to win the 2014 mid-term elections in November, rather than the base which came out to vote for them, as well as failing to challenge President Obama on several of his executive orders. You can see the votes here and here.
  • In street demonstrations against Israel, the crowd will often include fundamentalist Muslims, anarchists, neo-Nazis, ultraliberals, and anti-Zionist Hasidic Jews who believe the Messiah must come before Jews return to Israel.
    • Israel supporters also do this. In this case, it's Evangelical Christians teaming up with Jewish Israelis against the predominately Muslim Palestinians. Ironically, there's a sizable Christian population in the Palestinian Territories.
    • Stop the bomb an organization which is no friends of the Iranian regime, to say the least has many members who are or have been on government watchlists for supposed or real radical leftist activities, yet it was none other than Republican senator John McCain who sang "bomb bomb Iran" in 2008. War and politics... Apparently goes triply so when Israel is in some way involved or implied to be involved.
    • It is interesting that on the old Israel Insider website - a very partisan propaganda site for Israeli expansionism - many comment pieces were written by Northern Irish Unionists/Loyalists, including a regular commentator known for his association with extremist Loyalist factions. The particular loyalist grouping this commentator was associated with had strong links to far-right groupings such as Column 88 and the National Front, organisations hitherto not renowned for being pro-Jewish or sympathetic to Israel. The reasoning appeared to be both parties involved drawing parallels to a terrorist threat (the IRA/Hamas) drawn from a subject population who knew no better than blind hatred and violence towards their neighbours who were treating them with nothing other than forbearance and kindly understanding, despite all provocations. What Israelis or Ulster loyalists might have done to alienate and disaffect their neighbours was never spoken of, but the strong implication was that the two terrorist groupings were working together as a threat to world civilisation.
    • Some white nationalists, despite their antisemitism, have praised Israel's Jewish character as the kind of "ethnostate" they want to achieve elsewhere.
  • Prominent religious conservatives and liberal disability rights groups have teamed up several times to fight the legalization of assisted suicide. They were also on the same side during the Terri Schiavo debacle.
  • Following the passage of Proposition 8 (which outlawed same-sex marriage in California), Several families sued the state on the grounds that the referendum was unconstitutional. The attorneys who teamed up to represent them in court were Theodore Olsen and David Boies, best known for arguing opposing sides of Bush v. Gore. Needless to say, the defendants didn't stand a chance.
  • The pro-life movement includes numerous groups arguing from different angles, many of whom wouldn't usually agree with the religious conservatives traditionally associated with the movement. Staunch atheists, self-styled liberals, American Democrats and feminists of various kinds have all been known to team up with them.
    • Likewise the pro-choice or rather the "abortion should be an option in some well defined though probably very limited circumstances, even though I personally would probably never consider an abortion" movement (though that would of course be too long for placards) which - according to polls - accounts for over 80% of Americans is an incredibly broad coalition, that while they don't see eye to eye on much else (and often oppose specific types of abortion) are very much in agreement on the need to have at least some abortion clinics and in the fight against ever restrictive laws that would limit some states to one abortion clinic every two hundred miles - at best.
  • Jane Hamsher, creator of the liberal blog Firedoglake and Grover Norquist, conservative kingmaker, teamed up in 2010 to oppose the Affordable Healthcare Act. The conservative argument was that it was big-government socialism, while liberals believed that it didn't go far enough.
    • Likewise, the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy received criticism from both the left and the right in American politics during its height. Many left-wing LGBT-rights activists opposed the policy because they believed that it wasn't inclusive enough towards LGBT people, while right-wing LGBT-rights opponents thought it was too inclusive.
  • Hunters and animal-rights activists may not always see eye to eye, but they will team up to oppose development projects—especially if those projects threaten game populations, which would result in there being nothing to hunt!.
    • They'll also unite on culling an invasive species (with North-American Razorbacks providing a good example). Yes, "Thin out their numbers!" is actually a valid argument in these cases.
    • A few conservation groups (Such as Ducks Unlimited) were founded by hunters themselves, due to the fact that without the proper environment, there won't be any game to hunt, which is bad for business.
  • In issues involving the Separation of Church and State in the U.S., atheist groups and religious groups do team up. Some Christians don't like government being linked to their religion, the Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and other groups don't like Christianity being endorsed by the government, and atheists don't want any religion endorsed by the government. The group Americans United for Separation of Church and State is an example of this. Another good example is the opposition to Amendment 8 in Florida, an amendment to allow the state treasury to be used to support churches and religious institutions. One of the more prominent opposing voices is a Rabbi.
  • In the midst of the 2012 Chick-fil-A gay marriage controversy, Chick-fil-A's supporters (during the "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day") and its protesters (including the "kiss-in" folks) joined in condemning the mayors of Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia for comments indicating that they would work to block the fast food company's plans to open restaurants in their cities. Both sides of the issue maintained that you can agree or disagree with the company's stance all you want and protest one way or the other accordingly, but to dictate that someone cannot operate a business somewhere because of their views would be an infringement upon free speech and free markets.
  • Despite their obvious theological differences, Catholics and Protestants often team up to oppose abortion and same-sex marriage.
  • Opposition to Barack Obama's efforts to enact military action against Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons against Syrian civilians came to be made up of Tea Party Republicans, anti-war Democrats, and numerous other constituents of both parties. On the flip side, President Obama got some support from people who don't tend to agree with him on most other issues (e.g. John McCain and Bill O'Reilly).
    • This all fell apart though when Obama leapt on Russia's offer to help get rid of Syria's chemical weapons. The anti-war Democrats and non-interventionist Republicans were cool with this, as were many Democrats who had favored military action (since it was a way of ending the chemical weapons issue without fighting), but the pro-war Republicans were more than skeptical and the Tea Partiers shared in the skepticism of Russia's intentions and were opposed to the existence of any US role (also: it made the UN look useful. Tea Party hates that).
  • The whole NSA scandal has produced some really strange alliances. The anti-Snowden camp has Barack Obama, John Boehner, Michele Bachmann, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, John McCain, Dianne Feinstein, Mitch McConnell, Peter King and Al Franken. Meanwhile, the pro-Snowden camp contains Al Gore, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, Michael Moore, and Glenn Beck. And there's also Bill Maher who hasn't seemed to have picked a side yet.
  • While it was obviously something that conservatives were angry about, even liberals and other people who dislike Sarah Palin were disgusted by Martin Bashir's assertion that she deserved to be subjected to "Derby's dose" (a punishment enacted on African slaves where they were forced to consume feces) for comparing the federal debt to slavery. This was compounded with Bashir's fellow former MSNBC anchor Alec Baldwin alleging a Double Standard in the fact that Baldwin was quickly fired for an anti-gay slur he said in an outburst against reporters yet Bashir still had his job after his scripted offensive comments. Unsurprisingly, Bashir eventually resigned.
  • Despite having very sour relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia (since they don't have emissaries to their respective countries) and Saudi support for many Palestinian groups, both countries found themselves to be unlikely allies against a great threat, Iran, due to the concerns of the Iranian nuclear program.
  • For the 2014 Scottish referendum on independence, the "No" camp was dominated by a rare alliance between Labour and the governing parties (the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats). Among the smaller political movements opposed to independence, there was also UKIP, far-left parties and far-right nationalists. Take any combination of the five and you'd find they were bitter enemies. There was some division in the "Yes" camp to, but they managed to coalesce around a vaguely left-wing vision.
    • Although in the case of the latter, this trope was still in full effect, as support for independence ranged from Business for Scotland to the Scottish Socialist Party, as well as the mutually hostile SNP and Green Party (the latter temporarily withdrawing at one point in protest at Yes Scotland becoming an "SNP vehicle"). Even some Labour rebels backed an independent Scotland while desperately hoping that the SNP would not be the ones to lead it...
  • Ultra-nationalist political parties in Europe have had a long tradition of neo-Nazism and anti-Semitism. But since the early 2010s, a number of them have attempted to cozy up to their Israeli counterparts to fight what they perceive to be an Islamic threat to Europe.
  • In a truly bizarre case of both this and Go-Karting with Bowser, Marcus Garvey (leader of the Back-to-Africa movement) was friends with Earnest Sevier Cox, a vicious white supremacist and eugenicist, and his fellow segregationists. Why? Garvey felt that the only way for black people to be freed from discrimination was to simply start their own country: this was great for Cox, who believed that miscegenation led to the downfall of civilizations, and that America needed to be completely free of nonwhite influence in order to thrive. Together they collaborated on the repatriation movement, advertising each other's writings and speaking at each other's events. When Garvey was imprisoned, Cox went to the Secretary of Labor personally to ask him to pardon Garvey, and even after Garvey was deported, they wrote each other letters and referred to each other fondly in writings. Cox even dedicated a book to him.
  • In parliamentary systems with proportional representation coalitions are a common occurrence, and they involve compromise as a matter of course. However, a so-called "grand coalition" is usually this trope in spades. During The Bonn Republic there was only one "grand coalition" where SPD and CDU/CSU the main center-left and center-right parties teamed up from 1966 to 1969. This coalition included figures such as Franz Josef Strauß (CSU), Herbert Wehner and Willy Brandt (both SPD) almost all of them had viciously attacked the political opponent before and would go on to do so afterwards. This being relatively shortly after the war, some attacks centered on the conduct during the war. Brandt was attacked for having been an exile, while some CDU/CSU members were accused for having been fellow travelers or worse. Remarkably, this grand coalition got done what it had to do and dissolved after the next election. One of the things it passed with its crushing über-majority were new emergency powers laws, which were supported by the Western Allies and the government and opposed by a strange coalition including former concentration camp inmates as well as leftist students against the Vietnam war and high ranking spokespersons of both churches (Lutheran and Catholic).
  • According to Mother Jones, Senator Ted Cruz is despised by established Republicans for his controversial views and equally nasty personality that The Daily Show with Trevor Noah seems to believe that he's the one person that the Democrats and Republicans can share mutual hatred of.
    • Hillary Clinton lampshaded during the Al Smith dinner that she and Donald Trump agreed on one thing — their mutual dislike of former presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz.
  • The Minimum Income (or "Negative Tax Credit") has become something of a strange unifier between Socialists and some Libertarians in recent years. The Socialists support the idea for obvious reasons. The Libertarians, on the other hand, realize that they're unlikely to end government welfare completely, and feel that if it has to exist then simply writing the poor a check would be preferable to (and cheaper than) attempting to regulate how every penny of welfare money is spent.
    • And in france, some parts of the new right also support the minimum income. Alain de Benoist wrote a whole book about it.
  • When the first round of the 2017 French Presidential election resulted in National Front candidate Marine Le Pen and independent Emmanuel Macron advancing to the runoff, Socialist Benoit Hamon and Republican Francois Fillon were both quick to throw their support behind the more centrist Macron, seeing him as more stable than the radically far-right Le Pen. Most of the other defeated candidates followed suit, and Macron ended up defeating Le Pen by more than double the votes.
  • French philosopher and notorious Anti Liberal Alain de Benoist is a member of the Mont Pellerin Society, which was founded by the austrian economists/proto libertarian Friedrich August von Hayek.
  • Many members of the most antisemitic sections of the alt right celebrated when Yair Netanyahu, the son of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu publically insulted George Soros.
  • Several philosophers like Alexander Dugin and Slavoj Zijzek campaigned for an alliance of the alt right and the parts of the democrats supporting Bernie Sanders. Zijzek even stated that the left should support Steve Bannon in hope of getting rid of Donald Trump and preventing Mike Pence becoming president.
  • The results of the 2016 election have led to some... interesting alliances between rock-ribbed, old-school Republicans (namely neoconservatives, "main street" Republicans) and liberal Democrats. Often summed up as, "Save democracy and the rule of law now, argue our many policy differences later."
    • The pro-Trump wing generally consists of Evangelical Christians, Tea Party paleoconservatives, and the ultranationalist wing. Before Trump came around, these factions had little in common: the Evangelicals were aligned with the rest of their party allies, the nationalist wing was largely underground and had little to no political power, and the Tea Party were somewhere in between.
      • Trump himself was a particularly hard sell to the Evangelical wing, at least at the beginning, due to his reputation as an unrepentant sleaze and views on abortion and gay rights that are best described as lukewarm. Members of the religious right have repeatedly compared him to King Nebuchadnezzar, as somebody who is not himself a follower of God but still ultimately serves His interests.
    • If, if Trump's infrastructure package ever does come to a vote, prominent Democrats - including some from the left wing of the party - have already signaled that they would vote for more infrastructure spending, while the likes of the Tea Party and all who took Grover Norquist's "tax pledge" (otherwise the heart of the Republican party) are opposed. In general, Trump has expressed a fondness for High Speed Rail that would make the blood of the likes of Glenn Beck boil when expressed by a Democrat.
  • The Costa Rican general election of 2018 was, well, atypical to say the least. For the first time in history the most voted candidate in the first round was ultra-conservative religious candidate Fabricio Alvarado (a fundamentalist Evangelical Christian singer and staunch opponent of same-sex marriage), the second most voted was (not surprisingly) liberal progressive and pro-same sex marriage candidate Carlos Alvarado from center-left ruling party PAC. The "Enemy Mine" situation here is that most mainstream parties from left to right alike started to join forces against Fabricio including far-left Broad Front, center PLN and right-wing PUSC. PLN and PAC's alliance is particularly notorious considering that Costa Rica's pseudo two-party system made them bitter rivals who hate each other.
  • While mental health advocacy groups of various types usually lean heavily to the left due to their support for greater health care funding, the Autistic community as a whole has been skewing slowly but surely toward the far-right in recent years. One of the biggest reasons for this is that most (diagnosed) Autistic people are (usually straight, often white) males, and the frustration caused by their difficulties interacting with women (made worse by their often high sex drives), combined with their difficulties with empathy, tends to lead Autistic men toward political positions that oppose feminism. This is not helped at all by the fact that the Autistic tendency toward needing to categorizing things often extends to people, making their thought processes highly susceptible to various kinds of bigotry like "race realism". Likewise, while far-right groups are usually disdainful of those with mental illnesses due to strong eugenicist beliefs, they are more likely to tolerate the Autistic since many are sympathetic to their politics and the ones who are employed often work in various STEM fields and are thus seen as contributing to "white civilization".
  • The current political correctness debate, especially on university campuses, has had some interesting groups of people defending one another. For a few examples:
    • Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks have defended Ben Shapiro's right to speak despite their mutually drastic differing political opinions, and Shapiro later insisted that liberal professors and speakers should be allowed to voice controversial opinions despite how much he disagrees with them.
    • Bill Maher and Milo Yiannopoulos have debated one another on a great number of issues, while they find that they agree on, at the very least, the issue of free speech and the ability to speak on them. Maher later had a similar but more conciliatory discussion with Canadian scholar Jordan Peterson on similar issues.
    • Judith Sheindlin has spoken at Oxford about how universities should remain open marketplaces for ideas as long as those ideas are not laced in hatred (specifically citing David Duke as someone she would not allow at a university she headed).
      • Generally speaking, most learned people (almost all of the above are scholars in some form) are in agreement that universities, at the very least, must be marketplaces for ideas and debate on them without fear of danger.
  • This happened between two fierce political rivals in Malaysia in the days leading up to the 2018 elections. Dr. Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim aren't exactly known to be the best of friends. However, when the Najib government became too despotic and tyrannical, Mahathir came out of retirement, created a new party, and formed a coalition with Anwar's party in a bid to take the tyrant down. In a similar vein, many Malaysians agreed among themselves to put aside their differences in beliefs to oust the tyrant. The Najib government suffered defeat in a Curb-Stomp Battle on election day.
  • Environmentalists and animal rights activists usually loathe genetic engineering and processed foods, but they support efforts to create lab-grown meat, believing that it will reduce the strain on the environment raising livestock and reduce animal suffering.
  • In the U.S. Primary season media outlets with a particular ideological leaning tend to adopt a narrative that their opposition's primaries are "rigged" (whether or not they are is beyond the scope of this article). They'll then start to build up a fringe candidate from the other side of the aisle with a sizeable base of support, and claim that there's a conspiracy to deny said candidate the nomination, in hopes that their supporters will simply refuse to vote in the General Election if the primary becomes bitter enough. Notable examples of this include Jon Stewart claiming the Republican Party was being unfair to Ron Paul, and Alex Jones claiming the Democrats were being unfair to Bernie Sanders (shortly after calling Sanders a "bum"). Interestingly, Donald Trump seems to have mostly avoided this, partially because he was actually winning for much of the Primary, and partially because even the slightest sign of support for him was absolute heresy to any audience made of primarily of Democrats.


  • The "Robbers' Cave" experiment. Two groups of boys at a summer camp were first isolated from each other and encouraged to form a group mentality. After a few days they were introduced to the other group in a competitive environment in order to produce inter-group friction. This stage was ended early when the hostile rivalry reached potentially dangerous levels. The groups were then given mutual "superordinate goals" forcing them to work together, and the hostility evaporated as quickly as it had appeared.


  • Fans of sports teams coming down to the wire on that last playoff spot can find themselves rooting for their most hated rival to win because their rival just happens to play some third team that needs to lose in order for their team to be able to jump ahead of them in the standings. "(Insert Hated Team Here) Fan For A Day" signs are not uncommon in the stands in such games.
    • A funny example in 2014 FIFA World Cup: Germany defeated the host country, Brazil, for a spectacular 7-1 in one of the semifinals, which was the worst defeat Brazil ever suffered and a traumatic experience for all the fans. At one point the Brazilian fans (those which hadn't left already during the first half) was cheering on the German team. The other semifinal match was Netherlands X Argentina, with the latter winning and making it into the finals against Germany. Nearly ALL Brazilians rooted for Germany, out of spite and fun. And Germany scored 1-0 during additional extra time, thus winning the tournament. Brazilian fans were satisfied, even after losing 3rd place match to Netherlands, just because the arch-rival Argentina was defeated. For those not familiar with soccer, Brazil vs. Argentina is probably the greatest rivalry in the world of soccernote  - to the point that there is a Cup that only these two national treams dispute! It also helped that this was only the second time Germany and Brazil meet in a World Cup, and the German team won fairly gracefully, toning down the goal celebrations at one point and comforting members of the host team after the game. Plus, loosing so badly is already a disgrace, but loose so badly against team which then doesn't move forward to win the cup can be considered as even worse.
  • Heading into the last game of the 2014 Six Nations Championship, England were to be the champions if France, England's longstanding rivals, won against Ireland. English fans on social media commented on how odd it feels to be cheering on France.
  • Such sporting rivalries have given rise to the popular "I support two teams - X, and anyone playing against Y" T-shirt design, with many regional variations.
  • All-Star Games in various sports feature this, as players from opposing teams unite to take down players from the other league/conference/whatever.
  • In German soccer the rivalry between Schalke 04 and 1. FC Nuremberg was quite intense during the 1930s and 1940s as both teams were among the best in Germany, frequently battling out the cup and the championship. note  However, the two fandoms now enjoy one of the strongest and most storied friendships, even going so far as supporters going to matches of the other team in their own gear and being welcomed. How this friendship came about is unknown, but one popular theory is that a bunch of fans of Schalke was getting into a fight with fans of Bayern and some Fans of Nuremberg saw this and as Bayern was clearly seen as the bigger evil (nobody who is not a fan of them really likes them), the Nuremberg fans intervened. If this story is true - and it may well have been the other way round - it also doubles as FireForgedFriendship.


  • Can probably be applied to the vast majority of wars, including the alliances against Napoleon Bonaparte during The Napoleonic Wars.
  • This trope is one of the reasons Drill Sergeant Nasty exists. Even if 40 people in a platoon can't agree on ANYTHING else, they can always unite around the fact that the sergeant's an ass.

Classical Times

18 Century

  • The American Revolution was a classic example of this. France and Spain, mortal rivals and conservative catholic near-absolute monarchies, joined forces with British protestant republican rebels and were funded by the protestant and deeply anti-Spanish Dutch Republic. It was deeply ironic when radical republican ideology flourished across Atlantic a couple of decades later and (sorta) took down all three countries.

19th Century

  • Napoleon's regime is an example of this in an ideology. Napoleon was a veteran of the French Republic's military, his government used the republican flag and he claimed to embody the ideals the republic had represented and yet his government was unashamedly an absolute monarchy with Napoleon not shirking even slightly from the trappings of royalism (see, for example, the painting of his coronation).
  • In the War of the Triple Alliance, Brazil and Argentina, who had long been antagonistic towards one another, went to war against Paraguay. They were joined by Uruguay, which was basically their punching bag.

World War I

  • During World War I, the conservative monarchist German government helped the radical Vladimir Lenin return to Russia so that he could overthrow the government and make peace with the Central Powers.
  • The parliamentary democracy of France forged an alliance (the Entente Cordiale) with autocratic Czarist Russia, and later democratic Britain, against semi-democratic Imperial Germany and Austria-Hungary. When the U.S. was thinking of entering the war, Russia's February Revolution happened and the Wilson administration welcomed the development as removing the last obstacle to a "democracy vs. dictatorship" narrative.
  • Italy's position in the war was all about that. When the war started it was part of the Triple Alliance due the mess with the Pope and Italy being a tad too slow in invading Tunisia put the long-standing alliance with France at risk, thus driving Italy closer to their other friendly power, Germany... That just happened to come as a package with Austria-Hungary, the Arch-Enemy. Of course, once relationships with France defrosted, Italy found being allied with Austria-Hungary a bit stifling... And that is one of the reasons Italy first declared neutrality and then entered the war on the side they were originally supposed to be against.

World War II

  • This happened a lot during World War II:
    • Jiang Jieshi (Yangzi river region), the New Guangxi Clique (Pearl river region), Yan Xishan (Shanxi province), Long Yun (Yunnan province), Mao Zedong (Sha'anxi province), Ma Bufang (Qinghai province), Sheng Shicai (Xinjiang province), and several dozen less powerful warlords all called a time-out to the civil war, officially formed the United Front and fought the occupying Japanese together in 1937. That said, all sides were frantically trying to ensure their 'allies' took the majority of the casualties.
    • The Soviets and Nazis declared a nonaggression pact, though both considered it merely a stalling action before war broke out. Germany wanted the USSR out of the way so that they could defeat Britain and then attack the USSR because they wanted to avoid a two-front war. The USSR wanted to wait as long as possible so that they could get their factories and army up to full capacity. Obviously Germany never took Britain and attacked the USSR before they were entirely ready (and also allowed itself to get sidetracked by a mission to clean up the mess Mussolini had made in the Balkans), thus causing a two-front war anyway.
    • The four major Allied powers: the United States, United Kingdom, Nationalist China, and the Soviet Union - two democracies, an authoritarian military dictatorship and a totalitarian communist state - worked side by side for 5 years to defeat Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Fascist Italy.
    • Winston Churchill was a staunch anti-Communist, but he promised help to the Soviet Union immediately after Hitler attacked it. He once said, "If Hitler invaded Hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons."
    • Various people classified as sub-humans by the Nazis, such as Slavs and Chechens, teamed up with the Nazis against a common enemy, the Soviet Union. Many Slavic people actually served in the Wehrmacht itself.
    • During the Battle of Britain, the British and Irish governments put together a joint plan, Plan W, for the defense of neutral Ireland against German invasion. One effect of this plan was the Irish military trading in their uniforms (which resembled those of the Germans) for new ones more closely resembling those of the Brits, to avoid spooking jumpy British troops from shooting at the wrong people.
    • At one point Italy switched sides, giving birth to multiple cases of this: the Italian government was on the same side as the Allies, who were the enemy until literally the day before, due to German troops seizing control of most of the country; in German-occupied territories, La Résistance was divided into four factions (Monarchists, Republicans, Communists and Anarchists), with each faction loathing the others but agreeing to collaborate and settle things peacefully after the war and Germany's defeat and the abdication of king Vittorio Emanuele III (detested for allowing Mussolini's takeover and abandoning Rome and the armed forces without orders right after announcing the surrender to the Allies, even before the Germans moved to take over); and the Italian Resistance occasionally collaborated with the Italian Fascists (allied with the Germans) against the Yugoslav Partisans to try and defend the Italian population in Istria (a border area inhabited by both Italians and Yugoslavs, where Mussolini's government started throwing Yugoslav civilians into camps and the Yugoslav Resistance had recently started doing the same to the Italians); and the Communist faction of the Italian Resistance would occasionally collaborate with the Yugoslav Partisans against the Monarchists.
    • The Italians (Benny the Moose himself included) were actually pretty anti-German and anti-Hitler prior to the late 1930s. In fact, the British and French joined Mussolini's Italy in the Stresa Front, an agreement to uphold the independence of Austria and prevent any further breaking of the Treaty of Versailles. Mussolini himself referred to Hitler as a "mad little clown." However, the second Italy invaded Ethiopia, the British and French lost what little friendliness with Mussolini they had and took steps to isolate his country. (Most of their measures, including a toothless embargo on weapons sales, didn't work.) Without any friends, Mussolini and his Fascists were forced to cozy up to Hitler and the Third Reich. (That was a fatal mistake.) This may have contributed to the stereotype of the Italian forces being cowardly, when actually they were merely chronically unmotivated to fight. If the people you've just been ordered to kill are the people who were your allies last week, dropping your rifle and just getting the hell away from all this madness is not at all an unreasonable response.
    • Five days after the death of Adolf Hitler The Battle for Castle Itter was fought. Dubbed the strangest battle of World War II; 14 American soldiers, two Sherman Tanks, French and Eastern European prisoners, Austrian Resistance, as well as ten anti-nazi Wehrmacht soldiers and one Waffen-SS man teamed up together to drive elements of the 17th Waffen-SS Panzer Division from setting up a stronghold in the castle. Notable prisoners included tennis star Jean Borotra, former prime minister Édouard Daladier, Charles de Gaulle's elder sister Marie-Agnès Cailliau, former commander-in-chief Maxime Weygand, former prime minister Paul Reynaud, former commander-in-chief Maurice Gamelin,right-wing leader François de La Rocque and trade union leader Léon Jouhaux. Besides the French VIP prisoners, the Castle held a number of Eastern European prisoners detached from Dachau. Major Gangl of the Wehrmacht managed to get a a call out to a friend who owed him a favour and a group of Austrian resistance men as well as several more Wehrmacht men joined in the American/German/French/Austrian defense. Together they drove off the Waffen-SS until they were relieved by approaching US 142th Infantry Division.
    • Germany and Japan's alliance became more complicated later on, but it began with their shared opposition to the Soviet Union and to communism in general. And it was strengthened once Germany was at war with the same European countries who had Asian colonies wanted by Japan. Germany helped Japan by keeping the European colonial powers busy with a war on their home fronts, making it very difficult or impossible for them to prop up their colonies against Japanese attack. Japan helped Germany by keeping busy a certain number of British, Commonwealth, and American forces who would otherwise be fighting Germany. However the Japanese army ruled out invading the Soviet Union in July 1941, the lackluster performance of Operation Barbarossa confirming their earlier assessments about Soviet strength, thereby ruining German hopes of crushing Russia in a two-front war.
    • The America First Committee, which opposed U.S. entry into World War II, was an odd alliance of right-wing isolationists, left-wing pacifists, FDR haters, Nazi sympathizers, pro-Soviet communists (until Operation Barbarossa), anti-Semites, and Anglophobes. All together, the movement's goals coalesced into a vaguely right-wing vision.
    • Many people in Eastern Europe supported Hitler not because they liked Nazism, but because they held Stalin to be much worse.

Cold War

  • During the Cold War, this was practically official policy for both sides.
    • In an ideological level Fascism and capitalism joined together (or more accurately, Capitalism put in fascism) in Latin America against the Communist threat. An exact opposite of what took place in WWII: Communism and Capitalism vs Fascism.
    • During and immediately after World War II, anti-Japanese sentiment was very strong in America. All that was forgotten when the U.S. jumped at the chance to make Japan a capitalist ally against the People's Republic of China, North Korea, and the eastern part of the Soviet Union.
    • Under Stalin, the Soviet Union had regarded all non-communist countries as enemies, but Khrushchev began a policy whereby any left-wing or anti-western regime in the third world could be regarded as a potential ally.
    • The U.S. even went so far as to support anti-Soviet communist regimes, such as Yugoslavia and (eventually) the People's Republic of China.
    • The Suez Crisis was a weird aberration when both the U.S. and U.S.S.R. took a hardline stance against the intervention into Egypt and both put pressure on Britain, France, and Israel to pull out. This created an instance where the U.S. voted with the Soviet Union and against its NATO allies at the United Nations. And this was at the same time that the U.S. was vehemently condemning the Soviets for crushing the Hungarian Revolution too!
    • The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan united pretty much every country which wasn't in the Soviet bloc. The U.S. and the other western capitalist powers immediately decided that the people fighting Russians were the good guys. Muslim countries also backed the Afghan resistance, seeing it as a religious war between Islam and godless communism. Even communist China decided to support the Afghan rebels.
    • Despite the Sino-Soviet split, China and the Soviet Union worked together to support the communist forces in The Vietnam War. Once the common enemy was eliminated, however, Vietnam became a Soviet sphere of influence and spent the rest of the Cold War having border skirmishes with a now hostile China.
    • In neighboring Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge forged an alliance with Vietnam in order to oppose America. As the Americans began to withdraw from Indochina, Cambodia's (largely justified) fears of Vietnamese ambitions in the region grew, causing them to purge Vietnamese-trained personnel in their military and launch multiple border raids against Vietnamese positions, which in turn prompted Vietnamese reprisals. This led to the slightly-surreal situation in which both governments were outwardly professing their undying friendship and unity even as their respective military forces fought on the ground, and ultimately culminated in the Vietnamese launching a full invasion of Cambodia to oust the pro-Chinese Khmer Rouge and replace them with a pro-Soviet, pro-Vietnam People's Republic. Finally, for extra irony points in the wake of the invasion, Khmer Rouge immediately turned from the violent and brutal bugbears of Kampuchea and neighboring Thailand into the honored guests of the anti-Communist alliance ASEAN in Thailand's capital of Bangkok, allies of the conservative monarch Sihanouk who the Khmer Rouge had deposed a second time in 1976 (the first being in 1970 by the Khmer Republic), and friends of the United States and Australia.
  • The Iranian Revolution brought together (for a brief period of time) leftists, communists, and fundamental Islamists.
    • Also during the Iran–Iraq War, Iran received a great deal of weapons and aid from Israel, because both countries considered Saddam Hussein a far greater enemy (Hussein in fact disseminated a notorious pamphlet written by his father-in-law titled "Three Whom God Should Not Have Created: Persians, Jews, and Flies"). Historian Trita Parsi has also claimed that Israel's bombing of Iraq's nuclear facility at Osirak was assisted by Iranian intelligence, but Iran officially denies this. On the Iraqi side, the U.S., Soviet Union, gulf countries, and a variety of other countries, all gave more support to Iraq than Iran. Henry Kissinger on the other hand is said to have said "I wish they could both lose"
  • A wandering anecdote ascribed to Franklin D. Roosevelt with regards to a Latin American dictator (Somoza sr. of Nicaragua and Trujillo of the Dominican Republic are the most likely candidates) goes that he said "Sure he is a son of a bitch, but he is our son of a bitch". Whether or not Roosevelt ever actually said that aside, it is a good summation of US foreign policy in Latin America during the 20th century.
    • Immediately after the Pacific War ended, the Japanese garrison in the Dutch East Indies was permitted to keep its weapons and fought alongside the British and Dutch against the Indonesian resistance to put the country back under Dutch administration (it didn't last long; the moment the British and Japanese left the rebellion flared up again and by 1949 Indonesia was independent). This was especially dissonant to the British troops who had just come from Burma, particularly when one Japanese officer was awarded the Military Cross.

Post-Cold War

  • This tendency was also repeated again in the African countries of Chad and Somalia, when the warring forces teamed up to kick out the foreign invaders. In Chad's case, the government and rebel forces united to fight the invading forces of Libya, while the Somalis temporarily put their civil war on hold to kick out the United Nations force sent to restore order after the collapse of the dictatorship, before they returned to fighting among themselves.
  • The ongoing problem of piracy near the coast of Somalia has occasionally forced the naval forces of countries that would otherwise be enemies to invoke this trope by fighting together in skirmishes against the Somali pirates. A notable example of this was seen when the crew of the American USS James E. Williams fought alongside North Korean sailors to defeat pirates who had captured a North Korean cargo ship in late 2007.
  • Recently, the Ukrainian crisis is chock-full of this. Before Yanukovich stepped down, Euromaidan protesters range from pro-Western liberals & human rights activists to far-right ultranationalists not averse with Nazi symbolism, later the aforementioned ultranationalists forming "national guard" battalions fighting pro-Russian insurgents consisting of Ukrainian army/police deserters, Communists, Tsarist nationalists, Cossacks, and even western & (non-radical) Muslim volunteers, among others.

War on Terror

  • The 2001 uprising in Herat for the US and Iran against the Taliban.
  • Though they have yet to actually team up in a war, the Kurds and the Armenians, formerly bitter rivals, actually have somewhat friendly relations now that the Kurds and the Turks are enemies. A representative of the Independent Kurdistan movement even apologized for all Kurdish involvement in the Armenian genocide.
    • The best part is that the atrocities were done mainly by ethnic Kurds, not ethnic Turks. Which makes sense, since they live next to each other.
  • The September 11 attacks brought a few of these out of the woodwork, as governments who aren't exactly known for their fondness of the American government condemned the attacks and the terrorism that caused them. Among these governments? Iran, North Korea and the Taliban. (At least officially.)
  • Later, with ISIS terrorizing Iraq, a very odd alliance cropped up with American airpower working alongside Iranian tanks, both coordinating with Kurdish rebels- the same people Iran had been fighting in their own northern territories before. ISIS seems to be Eviler Than Thou from Iran's perspective, and the U.S.A. just doesn't want ISIS to win. Also, the Russians (who have had a tense relationship with the Western world since 2014) provided Iraq and Assad's Syria with fighter jets and other supplies. By September 2015 Russia put their boots on the ground in support of the Assad government, and there are earlier reports of Russian volunteers among the Kurdish resistance.
    • In fact, ISIS may be a major modern example - most charts and graphs you can find on the web suggest they're pretty much enemies with everyone else in the Middle East, not to say the world at large. (For reference, Indonesia, the country housing the world's largest amount of Muslims, staunchly condemns them.) Even some branches of Al-Qaeda now condemn their actions - though in their case, it's more because they feel ISIS' intractable behavior does more harm than good to the Islamic cause than because of their ideology, because they supported them before. Even then, if there's only one thing in ISIS' favour, it's the fractiousness of its opponents and colliding vested interests, which could be best summed up by this chart. And this chart. And this cartoon by Pat Bagley.
    • In the early stages of the civil war, Al-Qaeda-backed Islamists were this to secular factions like the Free Syrian Army. Despite their intense and mutual disdain for one another, both sides shared a common goal in getting rid of Assad. The beleaguered and poorly-armed FSA came to value these Islamist extremists as shock troops, until ideological disagreements inevitably tore apart the fragile alliance.
    • Several former American and British special forces operators and members of the militia movement volunteered to fight alongside the predominantly communist Kurdish resistance. Cue many American right-wing patriots cheering these fighters.
    • Averted with one group of Houthi rebels in Yemin, according to VICE: Their segment was titled "The Enemy of My Enemy" (is still my enemy) and they hate America as much as they hate ISIS.