Regionalism, according to some theorists, can serve as “a stepping-stone toward universal-ism.” Advocates of this theory emphasize that the present world is too diverse culturally. economically, ideologically, and psychologically to develop global common loyalties. Integrating commonalities could be established more readily within regions. The building blocks created by regional integration can serve in the future for the creation of a greater degree of worldwide order.
Some supporters of regionalism support the “federal approach” and others the “functional approach.” The first calls for the establishment of supranational agencies within regional organizations.The members would surrender part of their sovereignty to the supranational bodies. The “functionalists,” in contrast, have encouraged the development of broad-scale intergovernmental collaboration in lieu of supranational agencies. According to their view, economic, social, and cultural cooperation is a paramount prerequisite to political integration.
The regionalism that has developed in recent decades appears to contain aspects of both theories? Articles 52 through 54 of the Charter of the United Nations give international recognition to regional arrangements and define the relationship between such bodies and the United Nations.
The important point is that, according to the United Nations’ Charter, regionalism is compatible with the United Nations and should be utilized to help the Security Council in its peacekeeping function. Have regional organizations developed along these guidelines? Some degree of “regionalism.” in the sense of grouping a number of nation-states together for the pursuit of a common policy, existed prior to the United Nations. The defense alliances, formed before and after world War I. and the British Commonwealth serve as examples.
Regional organization gained considerable momentum in the late 1940s and during the 1950s. leading to the establishment of a large number of military, economic, and political arrangements. which will be dis-cussed later. The move toward regional association was spearheaded by arrangements in the Atlantic community area and in the Americas.
They were countered in the 1950s by regional arrangements among the Communist countries. Other regional organizations were established in the Middle East, Africa. and Southeast Asia. Generally speaking, the multitude of regional organizations developed after World War II can be divided into three categories: (1) multipurpose organizations, (2) security organizations, and (3) economic organizations.