Simon sent me this link and asked for my comment. In today's Asia Times, Andrei Lankov asks if there is any realistic possibility for countries of East Asia (China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam), which share a tenuous connection to "Confucian culture," to come together into an EU-like union. He then knocks down this very possibility, which I think is probably the right impulse, but for the wrong reasons.
Lankov plays down the role of nationalism in keeping EA states apart. He suggests that European nationalism of 70 years ago (pre-WWII) was more virulent than contemporary East Asian nationalisms but that Europe overcame these differences to come together. If Europe could overcome its nationalisms, why can't EA overcome its? Well, of course, the key point here, unmentioned by Lankov, is how Europe overcame its nationalisms. It was only after the full and awful development of the most virulent and destructive nationalism, and an extensive total war to combat it, and the deep national trauma of war (for France and Britain) and defeat (for Germany and Italy), and painful recovery with the recognition of the futility of the earlier nationalism, and the fear of a greater threat (the Soviet Union), that Europe overcame its nationalisms to create a union. None of these conditions now obtains in East Asia, and let's hope they do not arise in the near future.
EA nationalisms are not as "bad" as pre-war European nationalisms (especially in its fascist expression), nor are they easily "solved" in the present. Indeed, I think nationalism is the key element in keeping EA from forming a EU-like union.