Essay: REGIONAL GROUPINGS: ISLANDS OF HOPE

THE sovereign nation-state remains the world's strongest force, its basic political, economic and military unit. Yet the institution can be fatally inadequate today, even among large and wealthy nations, let alone small and under-developed countries. On the Other hand, the dream of global union among all nations is as remote and Utopian as ever. But between the two concepts—the individual nation and the "federation of the world"—an important middle ground is emerging. It is the regional grouping.

The idea is scarcely spectacular or novel; it is as old as the combinations of...

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