Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)

Summit in Havana, September 06

The 14th NAM Summit is currently underway in Havana, the capital of Cuba. Ironically, the NAM Summit is being held in a country which is implacably hostile to the United States which lies just across the seas 90 kilometers away. Gathered there are a motley group of leaders of this 116-member countries spanning Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Islamic World. In fact the last three outnumber the non-Islamic Asian countries. The NAM was originally founded by the leaders of India, Indonesia, Egypt and Yugoslavia.

The movement was originally conceived in the hey-day of the post- colonial era and motivated by the founder- member countries desire not to be drawn into the Cold War ideological and military confrontation. However, this idealistic obsession of these leaders soon gave way to the global realpolitik realities and all these countries became to be known as closely aligned with the former Soviet Union. This included becoming dependant on the Soviet Union militarily in terms of their military hard- ware inventories for their armed forces. This included India also as the leading member of NAM.

While the world had moved on, the NAM Havana Declaration in 1979 was still declaring that NAM was to 'ensure the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries in their struggle against imperialism, colonialism, apartheid , racism and Zionism and all foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against great power and bloc politics'

Noble words indeed but behind this fa'ade was a whole history of double-standards and dealings within NAM and between NAM and the rest of the world. The above text would indicate that this entire rhetoric was directed against the United States and Israel. The former was the target under pressure from NAM countries ties with Soviet Union and the radical regimes that sprouted in the underdeveloped countries of NAM and the diatribe against Israel was under pressure from the Islamic Bloc countries within NAM. Surely, if NAM was truly non-aligned then it would not be indulging in this sort of rhetoric. Its declarations, formulations and the general tenor of its pronouncements would have been more balanced, politically matured and objective.

The present NAM Summit in Havana seems even more ridiculous when one views the presence of notorious WMD Proliferators like North Korea and Pakistan and when Pakistan is now a recognized state- sponsor of terrorism against two fellow NAM Member states, namely Afghanistan and India. From the United States and Western countries' perspective, present in Havana would be a whole range of Anti-US countries like Iran ,North Korea, Sudan and Venezuala and the host Cuba besides many others.. One cannot forget that in case of Iran and North Korea the United Nations and the global community are seized with their nuclear weapons programs and imposition of possible sanctions.

The present Havana Summit would keenly be watched in terms of stances it assumes on the question of condemnation of Islamist terrorism which plagues the global community in an extended manner and India and Afghanistan in particular. Strong opposition can be expected from the Islamic Bloc within NAM and especially Pakistan. Rather than unanimity on this crucial challenge what seems probable is that once again there will be a tirade against the United States and Israel with Iran leading the Islamic Bloc on this hackneyed route.

The stark reality today is that NAM is an anachronism in the contemporary world. It neither has the moral force or political force or the economic strength to influence the existing world order nor has it itself set exemplary standards of political behavior and probity.

With the political irrelevance of NAM well established in the global scheme of things it would be in the fitness of things that the Havana Declaration 2006 on the conclusion of the present Summit announces the dissolution of NAM. 


More by :  Dr. Subhash Kapila

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