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Mediterranean Quarterly 12.1 (2001) 122-124
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Regionalism in the Post-Cold War World
Stephen C. Calleya, Editor: Regionalism in the Post-Cold War World. Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2000. 276 pages. ISBN 1-840144-17-3. $69.95.
As its title suggests, this new collection of essays examines regionalism in the post-Cold War era. The overall objective of the authors is not to provide a standard model of regionalism nor to list the most pressing global problems in the world today but rather to provide a summary of the principal theoretical and empirical approaches utilized in analyzing regions and their significance.
The authors note the changes that have taken place in the international context that are pertinent to the growth of regionalism in the late twentieth century and beyond. The main development has been the decline in U.S. hegemony. With the economic recovery of Western Europe and the emergence of Japan, U.S. influence in the major intergovernmental organizations has been reduced. The central American role in the international monetary system has lessened; its international trade, despite recent growth, is small relative to that of Western Europe; and the predominance of U.S. multinational firms in foreign direct investment flows has declined.
It is indisputable, therefore, that the character and structure of world politics has changed and that there now exists a fluid international system with a multipolar configuration. The introductory chapter of the book delineates the main trends and approaches in the study of regionalism and assists the reader in identifying the changes taking place in international relations at the end of the twentieth century. The collapse of the superpower system is said to have increased interaction among regional actors, with the result that regional politics have gradually gained in prominence.
The rest of the book is well structured and divided into three sections. The first part provides detailed comparative analysis of regionalism and contemporary world politics and includes an empirical study of regional dynamics in different parts of Europe. In this section Eberhard Rhein examines the prospects for further integration and the implications of such an outcome.
The second section includes a detailed perspective on the Nordic model of regionalism by Bjorn Moller. Sophia Clement, in a chapter titled "Subregionalism in South Eastern Europe," assesses regional tendencies in what she claims has become Europe's most conflictual territorial zone since the end of the Cold War.
The final section maps out regional developments taking place in different parts of the world. Monika Wohlfeld looks at the contribution that a leading international organization, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, has made to contemporary international relations. The other chapters in this section concentrate on current [End Page 122] trends in the international politics of different geographical areas, including the Mediterranean, the Americas, and the Caribbean. In his discussion of developments in the Mediterranean regions, Stephen Calleya wonders whether the possibility of a multilateral initiative such as the Euro-Mediterranean Process (EMP) is the correct mechanism to contend with the plethora of security challenges largely emanating from Europe's southern periphery. Calleya, after thoroughly examining the issue, contends that rather than undermining or diminishing the significance of the EMP, the quasi-conflictual pattern existing in several parts of the Mediterranean underlies the significance of the process as the only relevant multilateral effort for the region. For comparison reasons, Vilma E. Petrash in another chapter assesses the challenges, limits, and possibilities of inter-American regionalism by focusing on steps taken to create a free trade area of the Americas, while François Taglioni discusses progress in regional integration in the Caribbean.
The reader is apt to notice that although the contributions seem to have been written largely independently, there is a connecting link, that is, each author begins by delimiting the context and then exploring challenges to U.S. interests associated with the new regionalism. While the United States is a member of and associated with several regional groupings, much of the book concentrates on three pillars of U.S. policy: the North American Free...