How to understand this sentence

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candyad

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May 12, 2010
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"It is best to think of groups that are threatened from without by forces aimed at their disintegration or from within by disruptive people or ideas."

I break this sentence into two parts:
1. It is best to think of groups that are threatened from without by forces aimed at their disintegration.
or
2. It is best to think of groups that are threatened from within by disruptive people or ideas.

I don't understand the first phrase. What does "threatened from without" mean? I can infer the meaning of the phrase from its context. I'd appreciate help in understanding "threatened from without by forces".

Thanks.
 

Raymott

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"It is best to think of groups that are threatened from without by forces aimed at their disintegration or from within by disruptive people or ideas."

I break this sentence into two parts:
1. It is best to think of groups that are threatened from without by forces aimed at their disintegration.
or
2. It is best to think of groups that are threatened from within by disruptive people or ideas.

I don't understand the first phrase. What does "threatened from without" mean? I can infer the meaning of the phrase from its context. I'd appreciate help in understanding "threatened from without by forces".

Thanks.
It's not a good sentence. I think it means:
"It is best to think of groups as being either i) threatened from without by forces aimed at their disintegration or ii) threatened from within by disruptive people or ideas."

"threatened from without" means threatened by people who are not in the group - people who aim for the disintegration of the group from outside the group.
 
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