In his dystopian novel, 1984, George Orwell envisioned the world divided into three large blocs, seemingly at war with one another, but in reality, using the constant state of apparent war to enforce privation and exercise control over their internal populations. Putting dystopian fears aside, it is possible to envision such blocs developing and either cooperating with each other, or competing with each other, with possible consequences that could either advance the development towards world unity, or retard it. Developments, such as the European Union, or the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, the USA and Mexico, signal attempts to create larger blocs on a more or less continental basis. In Asia, the rise of China and its incorporation of Tibet, its reintegration of Hong Kong and its overshadowing influence over large parts of Asia not directly part of China, has created another potential continental bloc. While the Soviet Union has broken up, Russia spans a large segment of the Northern Hemisphere and holds sway over a number of smaller states formerly incorporated within the Soviet Empire. While such blocs may not represent either a final stage, or even a stable interim stage in the development of larger societal aggregates, it is at least important to note the impetus and experimentation in this direction.
Sri Aurobindo observes: “One of the possibilities suggested at the time was the growth of continental agglomerates, a united Europe, some kind of a combine of the peoples of the American continent under the leadership of the United States, even possibly in the resurgence of Asia and its drive towards independence from the dominance of the European peoples, a drawing together for self-defensive combination of the nations of this continent; such an eventuality of large continental combinations might even be a stage in the final formation of a world-union. … In the two American continents it has actually assumed a predominating and practical form, though not in its totality. The idea of a United States of Europe has also actually taken shape and is assuming a formal existence, but is not yet able to develop into a completed and fully realised possibility because of the antagonism based on conflicting ideologies which cuts off from each other Russia and her satellites behind their iron curtain and Western Europe. … Under other circumstances a tendency towards such combinations might have created the apprehension of huge continental clashes such as the collision, at one time imagined as possible, between a resurgent Asia and the Occident.”
“…the actual danger presents itself rather as a clash between two opposing ideologies, one led by Russia and Red China and trying to impose the Communistic extreme partly by military and partly by forceful political means on a reluctant or at least an infected but not altogether willing Asia and Europe, and on the other side a combination of peoples, partly capitalist, partly moderate socialist who still cling with some attachment to the idea of liberty, — to freedom of thought and some remnant of the free life of the individual.”
“In Asia a more perilous situation has arisen, standing sharply across the way for any possibility of a continental unity of the peoples of this part of the world, in the emergence of Communist China. This creates a gigantic bloc which could easily englobe the whole of Northern Asia in a combination between two enormous Communist Powers, Russia and China, and would overshadow with a threat of absorption South-Western Asia and Tibet and might be pushed to overrun all up to the whole frontier of India, menacing her security and that of Western Asia with the possibility of an invasion and an overrunning and subjection by penetration or even by overwhelming military force to an unwanted ideology, political and social institutions and dominance of this militant mass of Communism whose push might easily prove irresistible. … The possibility of a coming into being of three or four continental unions, which might subsequently coalesce into a single unity, would then be very remote and, except after a world-shaking struggle, hardly feasible.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, A Postscript Chapter, pp. 319-321