Henry A. Kissinger, A World Restored: The Politics of Conservatism in a Revolutionary Age (New York: The University Library, 1964).
Chapter II. The Continental Statesman 中
Klemens von Metternich
'He was a Rococo figure, complex, finely carved, all surface, like an intricately cut prism. His face was delicate but without depth, his conversation brilliant but without ultimate seriousness. Equally at home in the salon and in the Cabinet, graceful and facile, he was the beau-ideal of the eighteenth-century aristocracy which justified itself not by its truth but by its existence.' (pp. 8-9)
'Like the state he represented, Metternich was a product of an age in the process of being transcended... born in the eighteenth century of which Talleyrand was to say that nobody who lived after the French Revolution would ever know how sweet and gentle life could be. Contemporaries might sneer at his invocation of the maxims of sound reason, at his facile philosophizing and polished epigrams. They did not understand that it was an accident of history which projected Metternich into a revolutionary struggle so foreign to his temperament...'
'It was this man who for over a generation ruled Austria, and often Europe... he came to use the proudest claim of the Enlightenment, the belief in the universality of the maxims of reason, with increasing self-consciousness as a weapon in the revolutionary struggle. Had Metternich been born fifty years earlier... He would still have played at philosophy, for this was the vogue of the eighteenth century, but he would not have considered it a tool of policy. But, in a century of seemingly permanent revolution, philosophy was the only means of rescuing universality from contingent claims.'
"Society has its laws just as nature and man. It is with old institutions as with old men, they can never be young again... This is the way of the social order and it cannot be different because it is the law of nature... the moral world has its storms just like the material one." (Metternich, Clemens, Aus Metternich's Nachgelassenen Papieren, 8 Vols. Edited by Alfons von Klinkowstroem. (Vienna,1880). Vol. III, p. 322. Henceforward referred to as N.P.)
"One can not cover the world with ruins without crushing man beneath them." (N.P., VIII, p. 184)
"My point of departure is the quiet contemplation of the affairs of this world, not those of the other of which I know nothing and which are the object of faith which is in strict opposition to knowledge... In the social world... one must act cold-bloodedly based on observation and without hatred or prejudice..." (N.P. VIII, p. 184)
'This was the myth of the philosopher-king, the ideal eighteenth-century ruler, who stood above the plane where personal feelings reign, cool, composed, superior. Statesmanship was the science of the interests of states (N.P. I, p. 33), and subject to laws entirely analogous to the laws of the physical world. The statesman was a philosopher who understood these maxims, who performed his tasks but reluctantly, for they deflected him from the source of the only real enjoyment, the contemplation of truth; he was responsible only to his conscience and to history - to the former because it continued his vision of truth, to the latter because it provided the only test of its validity.
The reaction against Metternich's smug self-satisfaction and rigid conservatism has tended to over a century now to take the form of denying the reality of his accomplishments. But a man who came to dominate every coalition in which he participated, who was considered by two foreign monarchs as more trustworthy than their own ministers, who for three years was in effect Prime Minister of Europe, such a man could not be of mean consequence. To be sure, the successes he liked to ascribe to the moral superiority of his maxims more often due to the extraordinary skill of his diplomacy. His genius was instrumental, not creative; he excelled at manipulation, not construction... Napoleon said of him that he confused policy with intrigue... Friedrich von Gentz, for long Metternich's closest associate, has left probably the best capsule description of Metternich's methods and personality: "Not a man of strong passions and of bold measures; not a genius but a great talent; cool, calm, imperturbable and calculator par excellence."(Srbik, Heinrich von, Metternich der Staatsmann und der Mensch, 2 Vols. (Munich, 1925), Vol. I, p. 144).