Accession Number:



The Concert of Europe and Great Power Governance Today: What Can the Order of 19th-Century Europe Teach Policymakers About International Order in the 21st Century

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report

Corporate Author:

RAND National Defense Research Institute Santa Monica United States

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



A young Henry Kissinger wrote these words years before his own extraordinary tenure at the helm of American foreign policy. Yet in the decades since, Kissinger has only continued to heap praise on the founders of the so-called Concert of Europe.2 Moreover, he has not been the only prominent American policymaker to be influenced by the era Woodrow Wilson consciously envisaged the Versailles settlement and League of Nations Covenant to be the antithesis of the Concert of Europes Vienna System, but after the League of Nations failed to avert World War II, Franklin Roosevelt used the Concert as a guidepost for designing the great-power consortium that would become the United Nations Security Council UNSC.3 As historian Mark Mazower recently observed, Kissinger and Roosevelt were not alone in looking to the past to help guide the world toward a less chaotic future, nor in finding in the long peace of the nineteenth century a golden age of farsighted statecraft.4 Indeed, the observation that American policymakers today should adopt the grand strategic playbook of the European Concerts architects has almost become a truism.5

Subject Categories:

Distribution Statement: