Pursuit of adversarial goals with commercial means
Continentalism refers to the agreements or policies that favor the regionalization and/or cooperation between states within a continent. The term is used more often in the European and North American contexts, but the concept has been applied to other continents including Africa, Asia and South America. In North American history, continentalism became linked to manifest destiny and involved merging continental expansion with international growth.
Japan (leading an east Asian group, which may before long include China), Europe and America are trying to do each other down for export markets, investment opportunities and access to raw materials: behaving, in short, just like those crude old nation-states, but on a far bigger scale. The end of the Cold War has made it easier, because it is safer, for the three continents to try to assert their separateness. We may now be entering a period in which these great blocks of countries conduct the pursuit of adversarial goals with commercial means. There are genuine Euro-Asian-American differences of economic interest, but this is only one way in which the instinct of people to distance themselves from one another reveals itself. The suspicion grows that continentalism is merely another case of the Great Geographic Fallacy, that where you sit on the map is more important than what sort of people you are, and what body of beliefs you wish to live by, that proximity matters more than ideas.