Surprisingly, the settlement that emerged provided a peace lasting almost a hundred years, realized without a major war or permanent revolution. That Europe by 1822 rescued stability from seeming chaos was primarily the result of the work of two great diplomats: Viscount Castlereagh, the British foreign secretary, and Prince von Metternich, Austria’s foreign minister. Henry Kissinger explains how the turbulent relationship between these two men, the differing concerns of their respective countries, and the changing nature of diplomacy influenced the final shape of the new international order. Part political biography, part diplomatic history,A World Restored analyses the alliances formed and treaties signed by the world's leaders during the years 1812 to 1822, the conference system and congresses that gave rise to the European order that would last until the outbreak of World War I, and the tactics and philosophies behind the negotiation of peace. Kissinger’s first book is a powerfully argued manifesto on the nature of statesmanship.
Walt begins by outlining five general hypotheses about the causes of alliances. Drawing upon diplomatic history and a detailed study of alliance formation in the Middle East between 1955 and 1979, he demonstrates that states are more likely to join together against threats than they are to ally themselves with threatening powers. Walt also examines the impact of ideology on alliance preferences and the role of foreign aid and transnational penetration. His analysis show, however, that these motives for alignment are relatively less important. In his conclusion, he examines the implications of "balance of threat" for U.S. foreign policy.