Frasi di Samuel P. Huntington

Samuel P. Huntington photo
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Samuel P. Huntington

Data di nascita: 18. Aprile 1927
Data di morte: 24. Dicembre 2008

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Samuel Phillips Huntington è stato un politologo statunitense. Uno dei massimi esperti di politica estera, consigliere dell'amministrazione americana ai tempi di Jimmy Carter, direttore degli Studi strategici e internazionali di Harvard, fondatore di Foreign Policy e autore di una ventina di saggi che hanno fatto la storia della geopolitica degli ultimi vent'anni. È noto per la sua analisi delle relazioni tra governo civile e potere militare, i suoi studi sui colpi di Stato e le sue tesi sugli attori principali del ventunesimo secolo: le civiltà che tendono a sostituire gli Stati-nazione.

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Frasi Samuel P. Huntington

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„The most important groupings of states are no longer the three blocs of the Cold War but rather the world’s seven or eight major civilizations.“

—  Samuel P. Huntington
Context: In the post-Cold War world, for the first time in history, global politics has become multipolar and multicivilizational. During most of human existence, contacts between civilizations were intermittent or nonexistent. Then, with the beginning of the modern era, about A. D. 1500, global politics assumed two dimensions. For over four hundred years, the nation states of the West — Britain, France, Spain, Austria, Prussia, Germany, the United States, and others — constituted a multipolar international system within Western civilization and interacted, competed, and fought wars with each other. At the same time, Western nations also expanded, conquered, colonized, or decisively influenced every other civilization. During the Cold War global politics became bipolar and the world was divided into three parts. A group of mostly wealthy and democratic societies, led by the United States, was engaged in a pervasive ideological, political, economic, and, at times, military competition with a group of somewhat poorer communist societies associated with and led by the Soviet Union. Much of this conflict occurred in the Third World outside these two camps, composed of countries which often were poor, lacked political stability, were recently independent, and claimed to be nonaligned. In the late 1980s the communist world collapsed, and the Cold War international system became history. In the post-Cold War world, the most important distinctions among peoples are not ideological, political, or economic. They are cultural. Peoples and nations are attempting to answer the most basic question humans can face: Who are we? And they are answering that question in the traditional way human beings have answered it, by reference to the things that mean most to them. People define themselves in terms of ancestry, religion, language, history, values, customs, and institutions. They identify with cultural groups: tribes, ethnic groups, religious communities, nations, and, at the broadest level, civilizations. People use politics not just to advance their interests but also to define their identity. We know who we are only when we know who we are not and often only when we know whom we are against. Nation states remain the principal actors in world affairs. Their behavior is shaped as in the past by the pursuit of power and wealth, but it is also shaped by cultural preferences, commonalities, and differences. The most important groupings of states are no longer the three blocs of the Cold War but rather the world’s seven or eight major civilizations. Non-Western societies, particularly in East Asia, are developing their economic wealth and creating the basis for enhanced military power and political influence. As their power and self-confidence increase, non-Western societies increasingly assert their own cultural values and reject those “imposed” on them by the West. Ch. 1: The New Era in World Politics, § 2 : A Multipolar, Multicivilizational World

„A multicultural world is unavoidable because global empire is impossible. The preservation of the United States and the West requires the renewal of Western identity. The security of the world requires acceptance of global multiculturality.“

—  Samuel P. Huntington
Context: Some Americans have promoted multiculturalism at home; some have promoted universalism abroad; and some have done both. Multiculturalism at home threatens the United States and the West; universalism abroad threatens the West and the world. Both deny the uniqueness of Western culture. The global monoculturalists want to make the world like America. The domestic mulitculturalists want to make America like the world. A multicultural America is impossible because a non-Western America is not American. A multicultural world is unavoidable because global empire is impossible. The preservation of the United States and the West requires the renewal of Western identity. The security of the world requires acceptance of global multiculturality.

Pubblicità

„Those who do not recognize fundamental divides, however, are doomed to be frustrated by them.“

—  Samuel P. Huntington
Context: Although Europeans universally acknowledge the fundamental significance of the dividing line between Western Christendom, on the one hand, and Orthodoxy and Islam, on the other, the United States, its secretary of state said, would "not recognize any fundamental divide among the Catholic, Orthodox, and Islamic parts of Europe." Those who do not recognize fundamental divides, however, are doomed to be frustrated by them. Ch. 12 : The West, Civilizations, and Civilization, § 2 : The West In The World, p. 309

„Muslim governments, even the bunker governments friendly to and dependent on the West, have been strikingly reticent when it comes to condemning terrorist acts against the West. On the other side, European governments and publics have largely supported and rarely criticized actions the United States has taken against its Muslim opponents, in striking contrast to the strenuous opposition they often expressed to American actions against the Soviet Union and communism during the Cold War.“

—  Samuel P. Huntington
Context: Muslim governments, even the bunker governments friendly to and dependent on the West, have been strikingly reticent when it comes to condemning terrorist acts against the West. On the other side, European governments and publics have largely supported and rarely criticized actions the United States has taken against its Muslim opponents, in striking contrast to the strenuous opposition they often expressed to American actions against the Soviet Union and communism during the Cold War. In civilizational conflicts, unlike ideological ones, kin stand by their kin. The underlying problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power. The problem for Islam is not the CIA or the US department of Defense. It is the West, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the universality of their culture and believe that their superior, if declining, power imposes on them the obligation to extend that culture throughout the world. These are the basic ingredients that fuel conflict between Islam and the West. Ch. 9 : The Global Politics of Civilizations, § 2 : Islam And The West, p. 217

„Cultures are relative; morality is absolute. Cultures, as Michael Walzer has argued, are “thick”; they prescribe institutions and behavior patterns to guide humans in the paths which are right in a particular society. Above, beyond, and growing out of this maximalist morality, however, is a “thin” minimalist morality that embodies “reiterated features of particular thick or maximal moralities.”“

—  Samuel P. Huntington
Context: Does the vacuousness of Western universalism and the reality of global cultural diversity lead inevitably and irrevocably to moral and cultural relativism? If universalism legitimates imperialism, does relativism legitimate repression? Once again, the answer to these questions is yes and no. Cultures are relative; morality is absolute. Cultures, as Michael Walzer has argued, are “thick”; they prescribe institutions and behavior patterns to guide humans in the paths which are right in a particular society. Above, beyond, and growing out of this maximalist morality, however, is a “thin” minimalist morality that embodies “reiterated features of particular thick or maximal moralities.” Minimal moral concepts of truth and justice are found in all thick moralities and cannot be divorced from them. There are also minimal moral “negative injunctions, most likely, rules against murder, deceit, torture, oppression, and tyranny.” What people have in common is “more the sense of a common enemy [or evil] than the commitment to a common culture.” Human society is “universal because it is human, particular because it is a society.” At times we march with others; mostly we march alone. Yet a “thin” minimal morality does derive from the common human condition, and “universal dispositions” are found in all cultures. Instead of promoting the supposedly universal features of one civilization, the requisites for cultural coexistence demand a search for what is common to most civilizations. In a multicivilizational world, the constructive course is to renounce universalism, accept diversity, and seek commonalities. Ch. 12 : The West, Civilizations, and Civilization, § 2 : The Commonalities Of Civilization, p. 319

„In Eurasia the great historic fault lines between civilizations are once more aflame.“

—  Samuel P. Huntington
Context: In Eurasia the great historic fault lines between civilizations are once more aflame. This is particularly true along the boundaries of the crescent-shaped Islamic bloc of nations, from the bulge of Africa to central Asia. Violence also occurs between Muslims, on the one hand, and Orthodox Serbs in the Balkans, Jews in Israel, Hindus in India, Buddhists in Burma and Catholics in the Philippines. Islam has bloody borders. "The Clash of Civilizations?" (1993)

Pubblicità

„Instead of promoting the supposedly universal features of one civilization, the requisites for cultural coexistence demand a search for what is common to most civilizations. In a multicivilizational world, the constructive course is to renounce universalism, accept diversity, and seek commonalities.“

—  Samuel P. Huntington
Context: Does the vacuousness of Western universalism and the reality of global cultural diversity lead inevitably and irrevocably to moral and cultural relativism? If universalism legitimates imperialism, does relativism legitimate repression? Once again, the answer to these questions is yes and no. Cultures are relative; morality is absolute. Cultures, as Michael Walzer has argued, are “thick”; they prescribe institutions and behavior patterns to guide humans in the paths which are right in a particular society. Above, beyond, and growing out of this maximalist morality, however, is a “thin” minimalist morality that embodies “reiterated features of particular thick or maximal moralities.” Minimal moral concepts of truth and justice are found in all thick moralities and cannot be divorced from them. There are also minimal moral “negative injunctions, most likely, rules against murder, deceit, torture, oppression, and tyranny.” What people have in common is “more the sense of a common enemy [or evil] than the commitment to a common culture.” Human society is “universal because it is human, particular because it is a society.” At times we march with others; mostly we march alone. Yet a “thin” minimal morality does derive from the common human condition, and “universal dispositions” are found in all cultures. Instead of promoting the supposedly universal features of one civilization, the requisites for cultural coexistence demand a search for what is common to most civilizations. In a multicivilizational world, the constructive course is to renounce universalism, accept diversity, and seek commonalities. Ch. 12 : The West, Civilizations, and Civilization, § 2 : The Commonalities Of Civilization, p. 319

„Cultural and civilizational diversity challenges the Western and particularly American belief in the universal relevance of Western culture.“

—  Samuel P. Huntington
Context: Cultural and civilizational diversity challenges the Western and particularly American belief in the universal relevance of Western culture. This belief is expressed both descriptively and normatively. Descriptively it holds that peoples in all societies want to adopt Western values, institutions, and practices. If they seem not to have that desire and to be committed to their own traditional cultures, they are victims of a “false consciousness” comparable to that which Marxists found among proletarians who supported capitalism. Normatively the Western universalist belief posits that people throughout the world should embrace Western values, institutions, and culture because they embody the highest, most enlightened, most liberal, most rational, most modern, and most civilized thinking of humankind. In the emerging world of ethnic conflict and civilizational clash, Western belief in the universality of Western culture suffers three problems: it is false; it is immoral; and it is dangerous. … The belief that non-Western peoples should adopt Western values, institutions, and culture is immoral because of what would be necessary to bring it about. The almost-universal reach of European power in the late nineteenth century and the global dominance of the United States in the late twentieth century spread much of Western civilization across the world. European globalism, however, is no more. American hegemony is receding if only because it is no longer needed to protect the United States against a Cold War-style Soviet military threat. Culture, as we have argued, follows power. If non-Western societies are once again to be shaped by Western culture, it will happen only as a result of the expansion, deployment, and impact of Western power. Imperialism is the necessary logical consequence of universalism. In addition, as a maturing civilization, the West no longer has the economic or demographic dynamism required to impose its will on other societies and any effort to do so is also contrary to the Western values of self-determination and democracy. As Asian and Muslim civilizations begin more and more to assert the universal relevance of their cultures, Westerners will come to appreciate more and more the connection between universalism and imperialism. Ch. 12 : The West, Civilizations, and Civilization, § 2 : The West In The World, p. 310

„The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.“

—  Samuel P. Huntington
Context: It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation-states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future. "The Clash of Civilizations?," in Foreign Affairs (1993)

„People define themselves in terms of ancestry, religion, language, history, values, customs, and institutions. They identify with cultural groups: tribes, ethnic groups, religious communities, nations, and, at the broadest level, civilizations. People use politics not just to advance their interests but also to define their identity. We know who we are only when we know who we are not and often only when we know whom we are against.“

—  Samuel P. Huntington
Context: In the post-Cold War world, for the first time in history, global politics has become multipolar and multicivilizational. During most of human existence, contacts between civilizations were intermittent or nonexistent. Then, with the beginning of the modern era, about A. D. 1500, global politics assumed two dimensions. For over four hundred years, the nation states of the West — Britain, France, Spain, Austria, Prussia, Germany, the United States, and others — constituted a multipolar international system within Western civilization and interacted, competed, and fought wars with each other. At the same time, Western nations also expanded, conquered, colonized, or decisively influenced every other civilization. During the Cold War global politics became bipolar and the world was divided into three parts. A group of mostly wealthy and democratic societies, led by the United States, was engaged in a pervasive ideological, political, economic, and, at times, military competition with a group of somewhat poorer communist societies associated with and led by the Soviet Union. Much of this conflict occurred in the Third World outside these two camps, composed of countries which often were poor, lacked political stability, were recently independent, and claimed to be nonaligned. In the late 1980s the communist world collapsed, and the Cold War international system became history. In the post-Cold War world, the most important distinctions among peoples are not ideological, political, or economic. They are cultural. Peoples and nations are attempting to answer the most basic question humans can face: Who are we? And they are answering that question in the traditional way human beings have answered it, by reference to the things that mean most to them. People define themselves in terms of ancestry, religion, language, history, values, customs, and institutions. They identify with cultural groups: tribes, ethnic groups, religious communities, nations, and, at the broadest level, civilizations. People use politics not just to advance their interests but also to define their identity. We know who we are only when we know who we are not and often only when we know whom we are against. Nation states remain the principal actors in world affairs. Their behavior is shaped as in the past by the pursuit of power and wealth, but it is also shaped by cultural preferences, commonalities, and differences. The most important groupings of states are no longer the three blocs of the Cold War but rather the world’s seven or eight major civilizations. Non-Western societies, particularly in East Asia, are developing their economic wealth and creating the basis for enhanced military power and political influence. As their power and self-confidence increase, non-Western societies increasingly assert their own cultural values and reject those “imposed” on them by the West. Ch. 1: The New Era in World Politics, § 2 : A Multipolar, Multicivilizational World

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