23 Pages

Introduction: Samir R. Boutros

Among the different characteristics of the contemporary international political system, as viewed by Herz and others, are two highly relevant to the present context: the phenomenon of 'bloc actors', not least of which are the regional blocs which in many respects are superseding the nationstate; and 'the rise of ideology to prominence, [whereby] ideology and power became intertwined'. 1

The former has been necessitated by the need for greater security and, in the case of developing nations, by the search for independence, develotr ment and social progress. In such a revolutionary transformation of the international system, ideology becomes the guiding light for a struggle of this nature and extent. In the case of the global bipolar (superpower) system the ideological line of struggle is communism against capitalism. For the countries which were subjected to colonialism it has been liberation, non-alignment and development. But at both levels the competing actors have been blocs rather than individual nation-states. Integration, in its various forms, with its different goals, nature and degree has come to be the spirit of the age.