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"The Master Manipulator: A Historical Analysis of" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP22 Feb 2021 7:57 p.m. PST

….Metternich's Statecraft

"Prince Klemens von Metternich is undoubtedly one of the most influential yet controversial figures of European international relations. In many respects, he was before his time, pursuing a realist strategy of power politics decades earlier than this approach dominated the foreign policies of peer countries. Metternich faithfully served the Habsburg Empire for 47 years as its envoy in Saxony, ambassador to Paris, and finally Foreign Minister (Kissinger). Throughout this period, he self-righteously followed a conservative ideology, attempting to ensure stability and the balance of power on the continent. His ultimate accomplishment was indisputably the Congress of Vienna which prevented European war for nearly 35 years and forestalled a major conflict for 99 years (Breunig and Levinger 174). Overall, Metternich was extremely effective in preserving Austria's power which resulted from his ability to manipulate cunningly the events of 1812 to 1815 by temporarily preserving neutrality and tactically leading peace negotiations.

As the nineteenth century dawned, forces unleashed during the French Revolution and Napoleon's reign perpetually endangered the Habsburg Empire. The motto of "Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité" translated as "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" epitomized the threats to the Austrian Empire's rule and stability. Specifically, the revolutionary zeal of Liberté posed a direct challenge to the authority of Habsburg Emperor Francis by supporting beliefs such as popular sovereignty and the sharing of power between the monarchy and an elected legislature ("Conservative Pragmatism"). These principles offended Metternich's sense of legitimacy since he considered any proposed liberal reforms as unnatural and thus "doomed to failure" (Kissinger 10). Concurrently, brewing calls for Égalité in the form of democracy and social equality threatened to give undue power to the middle class while inviting radical philosophies such as socialism. However, Fraternité was by far the most disconcerting to Austrian rulers since it contended that ethnic or linguistic identity was supreme where each ethnic group was entitled to nationhood ("Conservative Pragmatism"). Given Austria's lack of "natural frontiers and … polyglot composition," it desperately needed to contain these nationalistic forces or risk collapse (Kissinger 7). Statesman and political scientist Dr. Henry Kissinger further contends that Austria's diverse population made it particularly vulnerable to unrest during times of war. As a result, its leaders were best suited to practice a foreign policy that emphasized the status quo …"
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