Regionalism in Comparative Perspective
This paper accounts for regionalism in the contemporary world, accounting this development in Asia as seen against similar drifts in Europe. The essay is written mainly from an economic perspective.
ARENA Working Paper 01/1996 (html)
Peter J. Katzenstein
The end of the Cold War and the break-up of the Soviet Union have lessened the impact of global factors in world politics and have increased the weight of regional forces that had operated all along under the surface of superpower confrontation. International politics thus is increasingly shaped by regional, as well as national and local, dynamics. This paper brings to light various instances of regionalism. In particular we compare such dynamics in Asian regions in a comparative perspective with Europe. Will Asia tend towards openness or closure? Will it be dominated by Japan or shaped by multiple centers of influence? A neo-mercantilist perspective emphasizes that the world is moving towards relatively closed regional blocs; the opposing, liberal view holds instead that global markets are creating convergent pressures across all national boundaries and regional divides. Between these paradigms this paper takes a middle position; what we envisage is an open form of Asian regionalism that is marked by multiple centers of influence.