Regionalism in World Politics: Regional Organization and International Order

Regionalism in World Politics: Regional Organization and International Order

Regionalism in World Politics: Regional Organization and International Order

Regionalism in World Politics: Regional Organization and International Order

Synopsis

The past five years have witnessed a resurgence of regionalism in world politics. Old regionalist organizations have been revived, new organizations formed, and regionalism and the call for strengthened regionalist arrangements have been central to many of the debates about the nature of the post-Cold War international order. This book brings together the many different institutions and ideas to be found under the label of "regionalism"; it places the revival of regionalism in a broader historical perspective; it asks whether there are common factors behind the revival of regionalism in so many different parts of the world; and it analyzes the cumulative impact of different brands of regionalism on international order. Leading specialists take a critical look at recent trends towards the new regionalism and regionalization, assessing their origins, their present and future prospects, and their place in the evolving internationla order. As well as concentrating on specific regions, the book looks at the theories of regionalism, the balance between regionalization and globalization in the world economy, the relationship between regional organizations and the United Nations, and the relationship between the revival of regionalism and questions of identity and nationalism. The past five years have witnessed a resurgence of regionalism in world politics and an increasingly important role for regional institutions. This book provides a timely and authoritative analysis of recent trends towards the new regionalism and regionalization, assessing their origins, present and future prospects and place in the evolving international order.

Excerpt

The return of regionalism to the international agenda has produced a mixed reaction. Some regard it as a positive and permanent characteristic of the post-Cold War international order. Others are more sceptical and believe, that like the regionalism which flourished in the 1960s, this newer version will have a limited application and shelf life. However, both regional optimists and pessimists must agree that whatever its content, regionalism is on the increase. There is little doubt that the mid-1980s marked something of a turning-point in the fortunes of regionalism. If the passing of the Single European Act in 1986 was decisive, no less important was the impact of global economic change and, of course, the transformation of the international system occasioned by the end of the Cold War. These and other factors, for reasons that are explored in this chapter, have led both to a proliferation of new regional groupings and to a revival of older regional bodies. And in contrast to other regionalist waves, the new regionalism spans all issue areas and has a truly global reach.

Although Western Europe and the Americas stand out as the areas where institutionalized regionalism has made the most impressive advances, a growing sense of regional awareness has been universal, although this has manifested itself in different ways. Some countries have restated a commitment to greater unity within an existing organization--such as occurred first in the European Community but then in the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the Andean Pact or the Central American Common Market (CACM). Others--notably the East Europeans and former Soviet republics-- have sought accommodation within existing economic and security arrangements such as the European Community, NATO, CSCE, or the Nordic Council. A third option has been the launch (or relaunch) of schemes such as the Southern Cone Common Market . . .

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