William Pfaff (December 29, 1928 – April 30, 2015) was an American author, op-ed columnist for the International Herald Tribune and frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books. He was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and is of German, English, and Irish origin. He currently resides in Paris.
Barbarian Sentiments - How The American Century Ends (1989)
- The accounts that history presents have to be paid. Past has to be reconciled with present in the life of a nation. History is an insistent force: the past is what put us where we are. the past cannot be put behind until it is settled with.
- Chapter 1, Dead Stars, p. 3.
- America's problem is how to free itself from the grip of it's exhausted ideas.
- Chapter 1, Dead Stars, p. 11.
- For four hundred years European civilization has dominated the world - for better or for worse. It is convenient, and flattering, for Americans to assume that this is all over; but it very rash to do so.
- Chapter 2, The Challenge of Europe, p. 21.
- Europeans believe in democracy - or, at least, in republican government - but they have considered the alternatives, and continue to do so, and that scandalizes Americans.
- Chapter 2, The Challenge of Europe, p. 23.
- We Americans really seem to be the only truly non-socialist economy on earth.
- Chapter 2, The Challenge of Europe, p. 27.
- The problems of elites is an old one for which Americans have found no solid answer.
- Chapter 2, The Challenge of Europe, p. 28.
- The moral spectacle of capitalism still offends, as does American capitalism's implacable insistence that the market determine value even in the political, intellectual, and artistic spheres.
- Chapter 2, The Challenge of Europe, p. 31
- But Americans are different from everyone else in the world - except the Canadians, and Americans are more different from the Canadians than they often think.
- Chapter 2, The Challenge of Europe, p. 52.
- The center holds; passion falls away. That is what happened ideologically in Western Europe over recent years.
- Chapter 2, The Challenge of Europe, p. 63.
- These choices by small countries are vital for them, but may be more momentous than commonly understood for others as well, including the major powers, who presumptuously believe they are in control of events.
- Chapter 3, Central Europe, p. 70.
- One cannot say that it will never happen again, or that it cannot happen.
- Chapter 4, The Soviet Union, p. 107.
- The achievement of nationhood is a product not only of time and circumstance but usually of war and suffering as well.
- Chapter 5, Nationalism, p. 138.
- Foreign policy deals across time as well as space.
- Chapter 5, Nationalism, p. 146.
- It is one of the perceptual defects of Western government and press to assign Western-style motives to what people do in non-Western societies, as if these are universally relevant.
- Chapter 5, Nationalism, p. 147.
- A great nation's foreign policy involves power, money, trade, oil and arms, but it proeeds from ideas.
- Chapter 5, Nationalism, p. 149.
- The truth is that history constantly presents new problems in the guise of old.
- Chapter 5, Nationalism, p. 155.
- Our culture is teleological-it presumes purposive development and a conclusion.
- Chapter 6, Japan, China and the Making of nations, p. 164.
- The frontier that remains is is the interior one, the most forbidding and mysterious frontier.
- Chapter 7, The Possibility of Extravagant Waste, p. 189.