impossible to due justice to such a rich and extensive set of relationships, but one would be remiss in a review of the Atlantic Rim region if one did not discuss some of the primary aspects that are of importance today.
We may begin with what is clearly the strongest and most extensive of the linkages, that of the North Atlantic. Cultural relations among the nations of Europe and North America are of special importance because, along with agriculture, it is one of the few unresolved issues in international trade relations. Canada and France, and therefore the European Union, consider cultural goods to be in a category that is fundamentally different than are other traded goods and each has long sought to impose policies that would provide a space for the cultural industries of each country to flourish; the United States has for an equally long period argued that books, magazines, films, etc., are no different from any other good and should not be accorded special treatment.
The reason for this lack of agreement on the proper treatment of culture goods is the different experiences each has had with articulation of its own culture. In the case of Europe, the challenge has been that of differentiating between its culture and that of its neighboring cultures of Africa, the world of Islam and the Slavic nations.xvi Unlike Africa and the Americas, Europe is not a continent but rather a space that is physically connected with Eurasia. Thus when Europe thinks of articulating and protecting its culture it does this in the context of other contiguous cultures that are dramatically different in nature. Europe extols individualism, democracy, personal liberty, private property, pluralism, separation of powers, and Christianity as alternatives to tribalism, communalism, theocracy, other religions, and so forth. By contrast, North American, and to a lesser extent Latin American, culture is derivative of European cultural values. To the extent that these peoples celebrate democracy, individualism, etc., they are celebrating values the got from Europe rather than developed themselves. Each North Atlantic society, of course, puts its own twist on these common values and gives its unique stress on one of more of them. The distressing consequence of the differing approaches taken by the European, Canadian and American governments to the trade in cultural goods is that what ought to be uniquely a means of uniting peoples has become one of the most intransigent contributors to conflict among them.
In the Post-Colonial period, the complex of imperial relations between African nations and the several colonial powers, Britain, France, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Portugal has been replaced by two structured relationships: the British Commonwealth and the Francophonie. The history of Britain and France in Africa began centuries ago, but formal associations between the colonial center in Europe and its ex-colonies were established only as the latter were able begin convincingly to achieve independence or an enhanced degree of autonomy. The was established with the Statute of Westminster in 1931, which at the same time created the relatively autonomous entity of Dominion status as defined in the Balfour Report of 1926.xvii The Commonwealth was designed to be a constitutional structure that would give recognition to the enhanced status of former colonies, such as Canada. In 1936 the members of the Commonwealth formally asserted their independence from decisions of the British Parliament. In 1949 the name was changed from the British Commonwealth of Nations to the Commonwealth of Nations, in recognition of the multiracial and international nature of its membership. The membership includes several of the