Rising Regionalism: Regional Blocs as Main Actors in Contemporary International Relations
XXI century’s international relations have mostly been characterized with optimistic notions such as “globalization”, “interdependence” and “multilateralism”. The international organizations were considered as a practical symbol of peace-building and progressiveness around the world. Nevertheless, a significant increase in regional agreements and consequent bloc divisions are being observed instead of a single interconnected world. Both West and East are expressing signs of regional preference and protectionism within and between themselves.This is often interpreted as a demonstration that globalization, liberal values, and unrestricted mobility may not be in everyone’s interest. It is beyond doubt that globalization is affecting the world order in different ways, but the question of whether changes are positive or negative remains unanswered. The US's role as a facilitator of global cooperation is declining, while regional alliances diverting effects of globalization such as ASEAN, NAFTA, Mercosur or EU are exerting more influence than before. This trend can spark legitimate thinking that regional blocs are becoming key actors in contemporary international relations.