Press Clipping(s): Non-Aligned Movement

What in the heck does NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) stand for today? Does it need to exist? There seem to be so many global bodies these days that it almost appears that their main reason for existence is to support the large foreign service bureaucracies that have festered in most countries, esp the developing ones. At the summits of these G-xyz conferences, I feel the bureaucrats talk the talk, say what is popular for their constitutencies, and go home feeling they have provided their country such great service. I wonder if these guys would still attend if they were asked to personally pay a few hunde dollars for each trip out of their pockets. Then we shall see how many hands will go up to volunteer in service of their countries.

NAM certainly had a role to play during the cold war, but now it seems like a bullshit organization whose leaders chit chat about useless things, pass unnecessary resolutions and act as though they are steering the course of international relations (Ok I am being too harsh). Imagine this, now there is a G-77 to counter the G-8, a NAM to supposedly provide balance to the US (with Russia out of the picture now), and then a separate G-15 seems to have emerged from within the NAM that appears to be vowing to stand up and fight with Iran if it is attacked. All this while Fidel Castro is given standing ovations. Craziness galore.

Here’s the news piece that ignited the urge for this post. Its from Dawn, a leading Pakistani newspaper. Somehow Pakistani newspapers still give too much t to NAM. Probably because many Pakistanijournalists grew up learning the iimportance of NAM in their high school textbooks, and have since then not bothered to update their knowledge to understand the unimportance of the organization in today’s world. Read the following piece and tell me if you think there is any newsworthy information in it.

If you can think of reasons why NAM should continue to exist in its present form, and what good they are doing for the world by spending extraordinary amounts of monies of organizing conferences, please do let me know.

NAM summit in Havana begins

HAVANA, Sept 15: Cuba took over the leadership of the Non-Aligned Movement from Malaysia on Friday, and acting President Raul Castro, standing in for his ailing brother Fidel, launched a stream of anti-American rhetoric in his inaugural speech.

Meanwhile, leaders from more than 55 developing countries Friday started two days of talks here.

The world today, Raul Castro said, is shaped by the United States’ “irrational pretensions for world dominance”.

“When there no longer is a Cold War, the United States spends a billion dollars a year on weapons and soldiers and it squanders a similar amount in commercial publicity,” he said. “To think that a social and economic order that has proven unsustainable could be maintained by force is simply an absurd idea.”

Raul Castro acknowledged his older brother’s illness after accepting Cuba’s three-year chairmanship with a round of applause by leaders from two-thirds of the world’s nations, saying: “Comrade Fidel has asked that I transmit to you his most cordial greetings.”

But while Castro is under doctors’ orders not to preside over the summit, the iconic leader could make an appearance, Cuba’s foreign minister told the assembly.

The 118-state NAM was expected to adopt a declaration backing Iran in its nuclear program dispute and lash out at Israel for its military interventions in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

Chavez at a side meeting of the “Group of 15” developing nations pledged Venezuela’s support for Iran if it is invaded.—AP

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