March 3, 2003
NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT SUMMIT
** Most observers
highlighted summit participants' opposition to war in Iraq without UN approval.
** Many saw the NAM at a
critical juncture, seeking new relevance in a globalizing world.
** Some saw the NAM's
future in trade, putting forward a united front to challenge the developed
world's "unfair" policies.
Summit rejects war in Iraq without UN authorization--Most focused on the NAM
summit's sentiment against a prospective "fearsome U.S.-led military
campaign" against Iraq and its Feb. 25 declaration opposing a war without
UNSC approval. Syria's government-owned Tishreen
called on the NAM to be "more serious and effective" in support of
"a peaceful solution by giving international inspectors more
time." Pakistan's centrist,
national News said the summit needed to show it could "rise to the
new challenge" by creating "a moral position of strength to resist
the threat posed by super states out to exercise their muscle power." Islamabad's rightist Pakistan Observer
called on the U.S. to "listen to the sane call" from the NAM, which
it noted is "the second largest international body after the United
What role for the NAM in the post-Cold War world?--Many papers conceded
that even the name "Non-Aligned Movement" had become a
"misnomer" in a world experiencing "the impact of
globalization" and judged that the movement has "lost much of its
earlier importance." Johannesburg's
independent Star held that the "NAM still has a role to play in
international politics" but along with other outlets called on the NAM to
"create a new focus" and make the organization "relevant to the
present day." Papers in Thailand
and Singapore pointed to the "pragmatism" of the Malaysian government
as a hopeful sign that its chairmanship of the NAM could help turn it into a
"more practical movement" better able to help poor nations.
Third World needs to unite to 'defend interests of developing
countries'--Some dailies saw the NAM's future centered on trade. By becoming "less political and more
economic" in focus, Singapore's Straits Times said, the
organization could "function as a lobby group" with bodies like the
IMF and WTO, better serving the interests of developing nations. Pakistan's popular Urdu Din agreed
that "the efficacy of the NAM [now] lies in economic and trade
issues" and called for a "new global system based on justice and
equality." Other papers lamented
the "chronic differences, infighting and divisions" that reduce the
NAM's effectiveness, calling for "a united stance against the self-serving
policies of the developed world."
Iran's conservative Tehran Times intoned, "Clearly, Third
World unity is the key to solving Third World problems."
EDITOR: Steven Wangsness
EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey
is based on 48 reports from 15 countries, February 21-28. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
IRAN: "NAM to
Conservative English-language Tehran Times
commented (2/26): "NAM was formed
during the Cold War confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union as an organization of
Third World nations seeking an alternative to alignment with the Soviet or
Western blocs. However, now that there is no more Soviet bloc the name has
become a misnomer. Many activists thought the name was inappropriate from the
beginning, arguing that the members should have given it a more active-sounding
name instead of using the passive word
'non-aligned.'... But a name change alone will not be of any benefit to
anyone unless it is accompanied by concrete action. The Organization of African Unity (OAU)
recently changed its name to the African Union (AU), but it is not yet clear
whether the new organization will be more successful in solving the continent's
problems, although its orientation is more activist.
"Six NAM members are currently on the UN
Security Council, and it appears that they will vote against any UN resolution
authorizing the use of force against Iraq.
Most NAM countries are in favor of an alternative UN resolution that
would give weapons inspectors four more months to complete their work in
Iraq. So, it seems that the sleeping
giant is waking up as Third World nations begin to realize that they can
achieve their goals only through unity.
However, much more needs to be done.
Clearly, Third World unity is the key to solving Third World problems. Third World nations must not be tricked by
industrialized countries of the North which claim they want to help the global
South. These are the very same countries
that exploited the world through colonialism, and the very same ruling class
that is still benefiting from neo-colonialism.
Perhaps NAM should transform itself into the Southern-Aligned Movement
(SAM) and merge with the Group of 77, since NAM and the G77 are parallel organizations with similar goals. The new SAM could establish its own economic
system which would be fair to Southern countries. It could establish a Third World Trade Organization
(TWTO) to rival the World Trade Organization (WTO) which has never been fair to
the Third World anyway. It could
establish a peacekeeping force to help
end conflicts in Third World nations.
All this is possible if Third World nations take the initiative and work
"Coalition For Peace"
Tehran Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran Radio 1 broadcast
this commentary on the draft statement of the Kuala Lumpur conference by
"Mr. Vaqari, an Asian expert of the radio's commentary and research
group" (2/23): "The NAM draft
resolution, which has been approved by the foreign ministers of the [NAM]
member states in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, shows that there is a suitable
atmosphere for the formation of a coalition for peace. It can be said that NAM members are against
America's unilateralism in the international scene and the unipolarity of the
world.... Recently, we have witnessed
the staging of widespread global demonstrations against American policies. The holding of the NAM conference is the
realization of the demands of the world people in the shape of a political
statement, a draft of which has been approved.
The NAM summit is expected to overwhelmingly approve the statement. It is clear that the world public opinion as
well as most world countries are against war and believe that the Iraqi crisis
must be resolved peacefully through the UN.
If America continues its bullying and a war breaks out, then world
countries must maintain their neutrality and avoid rendering any necessary help
to America. This is so they can block
the aggravation of regional tension and the Iraqi people are not
harmed.... Another issue which is
expected to be reflected in the closing statement is the trial of war
criminals. These issues are aimed at the
Zionist regime because of its atrocities against the Palestinians. Hopefully they will pay the price of their
"Non-Aligned Countries And Their Responsibilities"
London's Influential, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat
editorialized (2/26): "The countries
that still have a justification to remain in the Non-Alignment Organization
found out that the U.S. is the only superpower who is responsible for their
problems and the world's agony over its destiny. The countries acknowledged that their rulers'
governments and regimes are responsible for the current and upcoming
"The NAM Summit Says Its Word"
An unsigned editorial in government-owned Tishreen held
(2/23): "The 114 participating
states of the NAM summit were unanimous in rejecting a military option against
Iraq and giving a chance to policy conducive to a peaceful solution by giving
international inspectors more time to verify if Iraq has WMD.... Two days before the NAM summit, it was
obvious to all that the U.S., through its official statements, was not only
endeavoring to impose its logic of force and military action against Iraq, but
was trying to impose its point of view for the post-war period. It seeks to market, on the political and information
levels, unrealistic flowery theories, which are part of the extensive U.S.
aggressive schemes that will begin from Iraq.... Hence, the NAM summit is called upon to be
more serious and effective in correcting the international state of affairs."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
CHINA: "NAM Leaders
Pledge Promotion Of Solidarity"
The official English-language China Daily commented
(2/27): “With the end of the Cold War,
the emergence of unipolarity, the trend towards unilateralism and the rising
new challenges and threats, such as international terrorism, ‘it is imperative
for the Movement to promote multilateralism, better defend the interests of
developing countries and prevent their marginalization,’ the leaders said. They insisted that the United Nations should
remain as an important body to promote human rights, social and economic
development and respect for international law, as enshrined in its charter.”
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):
"Non-Aligned Movement Summit Attacks United States"
Shih Chun-yu argued in pro-PRC Hong Kong Ta
Kung Pao (2/26): "At the
Non-Aligned Movement summit held in Kuala Lumpur, the keynote for
speeches...was mostly an appeal for peace and anti-war. This reflected their strong dissatisfaction
with the U.S. plan to use force against Iraq without UN sanction and its global
strategy of unilateralism.... The
Non-Aligned Movement summit has become an important forum for many countries to
criticize U.S. foreign policy....
However, it is an indisputable fact that there have been chronic
differences, infighting, and divisions within the 116-member Non-Aligned
Movement. This stemmed from the
differences among member countries in social systems, ideology, religion, and
religious denominations; their disputes over territorial sovereignty and
resources; and their gaps in social and economic development. One can say that it is precisely their
internal divisions, plus Western countries' bid to foment dissension, that make
it possible for the United States to pursue the unilateralist strategy or
hegemonism.... This is also an important
reason why leaders of the movement called on member countries at the summit to
step up unity.
"Although many countries aired
high-sounding arguments against the United States, the rhetoric of documents
adopted at the summit is rather mild.
This is the result of the balance of the interests of various quarters
and mutual compromise within Non-Aligned Movement member countries. In addition, quite a few countries are not
willing to turn the Non-Aligned Movement into an anti-U.S. and anti-West movement. After all, in this world, merely anti-U.S.
slogans cannot be used to resolve practical problems. Moreover, some countries still need 'U.S.
aid' for survival.... Since the Cold
War, [the NAM's] role and influence have been reduced significantly for various
reasons. Thus, there should not be high
expectations about the role of the Non-Aligned Movement in international
affairs. It is already by no means easy
for the Non-Aligned Movement to get together heads of over 100 developing
countries to discuss important issues confronting them, to issue statements or
declarations, and to show developing countries' attitude on major international
issues. In this sense, the Kuala Lumpur
Non-Aligned Movement summit still plays a positive role in world peace and
INDONESIA: "OIC Holds
Special Meeting And Emergency Summit On Iraqi Crisis"
Leading independent Kompas opined
(2/27): “The worsening Iraqi crisis
forced OIC leaders to hold a special meeting...following the two-day NAM Summit
in the Malaysian capital.... Peace
movements remain useful, including the emergency OIC meeting in Doha. Even if war finally breaks out, the spirit of
peace will have developed into a stronger posture. Should the attack on Iraq be launched before
the Doha summit, the plan will have had its own significance. The meeting will have sent a strong message
to the world of the importance of peace and rejection of the war.”
"Advance Step Of NAM"
Independent Koran Tempo commented
(2/25): “The two points--Mahathir’s criticism
and draft of the [NAM] resolution--are attacks openly directed at the
West--specifically America--on the assumption that Israel is always backed up
by the U.S. Therefore, it is correct if
the representative of Palestine Naser Alqedwa says that NAM is in 'a more
advanced position'.... Being one of the
senior NAM members, Indonesia should endorse the resolution. Giving an endorsement by silence is not
enough. We must be brave enough to
firmly reject an attack against Iraq without UN authorization, for whatever
English language daily New Straits Times editorialized (2/21): "Now, with the world focusing on the
impending fate of Iraq against the fearsome United States-led military campaign
in the offing, Israel's actions against Palestinians are rising in intensity
and resolve.... Thus the desperate cycle
continues. This week's Non-Aligned
Movement Summit in Kuala Lumpur is expected to zero in on the Iraq question, of
course. There should be no forgetting,
however, that the entire Middle East question pivots not on Baghdad but on
The editorial of the independent Philippine Daily Inquirer
read (2/27): "Last Monday,
President Macapagal-Arroyo made a nimble rhetorical shift on Iraq. Speaking before...NAM (Non-Aligned Movement)
members, most of which are poor countries, the President discarded a rough
stance on Iraq hewing close to the U.S. war policy, and went along with the
anti-war tide in NAM.... The Philippines
was put in a bind at NAM. Its dilemma is
that while it is the staunchest supporter of the Bush war policy on Iraq among
the Southeast Asian countries, it cannot swim against the stream of Asian, as
well as NAM, sentiment antagonistic to the U.S. war policy."
"NAM Votes Cannot Be Ignored"
Independent Philippine Daily Inquirer carried a commentary
stating (2/27): "In its present
enlarged composition of 116 nations, NAM members comprise 55 percent of the
world's population and hold nearly two-thirds of the U.N. General Assembly
seats. Six NAM nations hold seats as
non-permanent members of the Security Council.
The United States and Britain are lobbying for a second Security Council
resolution.... The United States has
warned that if the Iraqis 'don't comply, then serious consequences will
follow.' The votes of NAM members in the
council cannot be ignored in determining whether the U.S.-British draft
resolution will overcome the solid opposition put by...France, Russia and
China--all of which supported the move to give more time for inspections."
"NAM Needs New Focus"
Pro-government The Straits Times argued
(2/24): "Like the North Atlantic
Treaty Organisation, NAM is a product of the Cold War; and like Nato, it has
become a movement in search of a mission.
Its survival owes more to sentiment--a feeling of solidarity deriving
from a bygone era when concepts like Afro-Asia, anti-colonialism and
anti-imperialism resounded with significance--than it does to any calculus of
interest. But this does not mean that
gatherings like this week's NAM summit in Kuala Lumpur are not important; they
are. The movement consists chiefly of
former colonies of European powers, and as a result, they share a number of
ideals in common--among them, an adherence to the principle of
self-determination, a commitment to uplifting the poor, and an insistence on
political equivalence with the West. All
these are noble ideals. Alas, in the NAM
context, they have also often been deflected in an anti-U.S., anti-Western,
anti-globalisation direction.... Many
nations in the group have been there...and failed miserably! It would be tragic if they were to go there
"NAM could play a more valuable role if it
became less political and more economic in its focus. It might, for instance, function as a lobby
group pressing the interests of Third World countries in bodies like the
International Monetary Fund or the World Trade Organisation. It could strengthen the position of the
developing world in the upcoming Doha round of trade negotiations. It could use its political clout to press the
European Union and the U.S. to open up their agricultural markets to imports
from developing countries. It could use
that same clout to press for changes to patent laws that keep life-saving
medications, like drugs to treat HIV-Aids, from reaching the world's poor. But leadership would be required to change a
movement that has always been more ideological than pragmatic. This year's gathering under Kuala Lumpur's
aegis may provide a good opportunity to start, for Malaysia has always been
among the most pragmatic of non-aligned nations."
"Can NAM Find Post-Cold War Relevance?"
Chongkittavorn commented in independent, English language The Nation
(2/24): “Given Malaysia’s pragmatism,
its chairmanship could help turn the NAM into a more practical movement that
can help poor nations cope better with the impact of globalization. That is a big question mark. Other difficult issues the NAM must address
with realism are an equitable balance between the rights and the obligations of
investors (especially multinational corporations), the extraterritorial
application of domestic laws, and the opening up of national economies tied to
the grant of aid and trade concessions.
The NAM’s relevancy will be judged this week by how the members handle
the above-mentioned questions since they are major concerns of member countries
in the post-Cold War era.... Certainly,
Mahathir will ensure that the NAM comes out opposing the U.S. threat against
Iraq, but he will not push it to go as far as condemning the U.S. and call on
North Korea not to take the nuclearized path.
A revitalized NAM must serve as a balancing wheel which can engage the
superpower as well as lesser powers, not turn it off.”
Expansion Serves No Purpose"
editorial in top-circulation, moderately conservative, English language Bangkok
Post argued (2/24): “No one believes
North Korea wants to produce electricity with its nuclear reactor. The country did not use oil provided by the
United States and Europe to light its poverty stricken villages.... The North has no credibility anywhere in the
world. Last week, Pyongyang sought
support against the U.S. and Japan from the Non-Aligned Movement meeting in
Kuala Lumpur. The group bluntly refused
to condemn the U.S. and told Pyongyang to stop its nuclear program."
INDIA: "Musharraf's Kashmir Drama"
and influential Tamil-language Dinamani opined (2/27): "It is not surprising that General
Musharraf's behavior at the NAM conference held in the Malaysian capital has
created aversion and disgust among the leaders of the member countries. The
controversy over whether the organization itself is necessary under the present
global circumstances is not without meaning....
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, rivalry among the two major
blocs have disappeared. Then what is the need for a non-aligned bloc is a
justifiable question.... When Musharraf
raised the Kashmir issue in this forum, NAM Chairman Mahathir Mohammed rejected
it by saying that Kashmir issue was a bilateral issue between India and
Pakistan.... With this, Musharraf was
taught a lesson. His efforts to stage the Kashmir drama could not
An editorial in Bangalore-based left-of-center English-language Deccan
Herald read (2/27): "It is
unfortunate that at the Kuala Lumpur meet, India and Pakistan were more
pre-occupied with settling bilateral scores rather than addressing issues of
concern to the NAM forum. True it was
Pakistan that started the slanging match....
Yet, why did the Indian Prime Minister have to fall for the
bait?.... India is a mature member of
the international community. It must
behave like one."
"Looking Through The Pakistan Prism"
Amit Baruah wrote in the centrist Hindu
(2/27): "Prime Minister Vajpayee
appeared relieved that the NAM leaders took a united position on Iraq. The
116-nation grouping came out with a resounding "no" to any unilateral
military action, including those without the support of the United Nations
Security Council. For many nations,
including in a few instances for India, some of the language used in NAM
formulations hark back to what many may think is a bygone era in international
relations.... Indian officials did well
to ensure that New Delhi's position on counter-terrorism was appreciated in the
summit declaration, including the all-important reference to the U.N. Resolution
1373. India, however, took a certain
position on opposing references to 'root causes' in the final declaration of
the summit. Mr. Vajpayee said in his
speech that 'root causes' was a method by which Pakistan justified terrorism
against India. But that doesn't detract
from the fact that the Palestinian people have a just cause or that not all
Palestinians are suicide bombers. In
promoting India's legitimate concerns about Pakistan, there is a danger of
looking at everything through the Pakistani prism. On the issue of root causes, India may have
ended up differing with many of its friends.
India appears to be in danger of losing the once pre-eminent position it
enjoyed in NAM. Some may even argue that
such a position may be in the overall interests of Indian foreign policy."
"Kuala Lumpur Declaration"
Nationalist, Urdu-language Rashtriya Sahara declared
(2/27): "Although the Non-Aligned
summit did not pass a resolution specifically castigating the U.S. for planning
military offensive against Iraq, it has made its position firmly clear on the
issue. The declaration adopted at the
conclusion of the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was very timely and
pertinently urged the world community to seek the resolution of differences
through talks and diplomatic efforts instead of resorting to war.... Such a balanced approach to the current
crisis around Iraq saved NAM from a split which an anti-Washington resolution
might have caused, given the pro-U.S. tilt of certain countries among its
members. The prevailing world conditions
have only reinforced the importance of organizations like NAM, which can play
its role better by following a principled and balanced approach to global
Independent Urdu-language Awam commented (2/27): "The summit could not do more than
merely urging the need for maintaining global peace and resolving the various
disputes. It failed to come forward some
concrete proposals or plans of action to address the critical issues before the
world community.... At a time when the
world is facing not only a serious misbalance of power but also flagrant abuse
of power by the U.S. in case of Iraq and other countries, the summit simply
played safe by avoiding to discuss the issue in any meaningful manner.... On economic issue, too, the members made no
serious effort to evolve a consensus against the policies of the developed
world which are adversely affecting the developing countries. As a whole, the NAM summit had nothing
specific to offer in the prevailing world situation and only proved its
irrelevance unless it decides to resume the role it was originally formed to
"Making The Non-Aligned Movement
Jullundur Ajit in Punjabi argued (2/26): "In the beginning, the Non-Aligned
Movement [NAM] had only 24 countries on its rolls. Today, the number has surged to 116.... The NAM...emerged [during the Cold War] as a
third force that tried to maintain some balance between the two [blocs]. Today, even though a large number of countries
are associated with the movement, in practical terms the NAM has lost much of
its earlier importance.... Countries in
the NAM should make their organization relevant to the present day. They have to set new goals so that they can
enhance their sphere of influence as also the credibility. The world, today, is in great need of
influential organizations that can force the great powers to think of the wider
interests of the whole world rather than their narrow interests while devising
"The General's Albatross"
The centrist Indian Express opined (2/26): "General...Musharraf has but one
magnificent obsession which he carries with him like an albatross round his
neck. And that is Kashmir, Kashmir,
Kashmir. Therefore, regardless of occasion
or circumstance, he dwells upon it, totally unmindful of the general
consternation he causes as a result....
And thus it was on Monday, at the Non-Aligned Movement summit at Kuala
Lumpur, when he spoke of the 'flagrant violations' of international law in
Kashmir, Rwanda and Palestine...a great deal has changed in the world and the
region since the days when Kashmir was a useful stick for Pakistan to wield
against India. At least two of these can
be considered here. One, the public mood
in Kashmir has undergone considerable transformation, as the successful conduct
of elections there and the not inconsiderable progress the Mufti government has
achieved in terms of delivering governance, testify to. Two, the world itself has demonstrated little
sympathy for terrorists passing themselves off as freedom fighters. Therefore, in keeping with the new ground
realities, could we request Musharraf to move on from his stuck-record act on
Kashmir? Ironically, it is only when the
rhetoric on Kashmir gets less strident that the possibility of both countries
sitting across the table and discussing the issue brightens."
"Jehadis In NAM"
The nationalist Hindustan Times editorialized (2/26): "Irrespective of the comments General
Pervez Musharraf made at the nonaligned summit in Kuala Lumpur about Kashmir's
'freedom movement,' there is not really so much to discuss with Pakistan on the
question of terrorism. World opinion has
slowly come to accept Islamabad's association with this menace more or less as
an open and shut case. Leading
governments don't yet officially describe Pakistan as a sponsor of terrorism
though they seldom now miss the opportunity to goad Islamabad to bring the
jehadis in line. Their hesitation
springs from worries that a direct indictment, and the steps that would then
naturally follow, might make the Musharraf dictatorship go under, allowing the
terrorists to hold total sway. The fear
is this might subvert a sensitive part of the world that includes Afghanistan
and Central Asia. India understands
this, but at the NAM summit Atal Bihari Vajpayee had no choice but to tell the
Pakistani dictator where he got off....
Pakistan has...the tendency to beat the old drum...which is chiefly for
domestic consumption, for the world has long tired of those beats, especially
after the election in Kashmir."
Bangalore-based independent Kannada-language Kannada Prabha
editorialized (2/26): "At a time
when India's Nehru, Egypt's Nasser and Yugoslavia's Tito formed the Non-Aligned
Movement (NAM), its summit meetings had international relevance and
importance. Now the world has only one
power-center, and that's America. Some
nations of the Warsaw Pact have joined NATO as if to prove that there was no
reason to continue old institutions. And
there are some who have questioned the very existence of the NAM. In such a situation, the recently held NAM
Summit provided a forum for both Pakistan's Musharraf to raise the issue of
Kashmir and India's Vajpayee to condemn Pak's policy of terror-tactics. Of what use are these allegations and counter
An editorial in the centrist Hindu held (2/26): "India and Pakistan have once again
presented an unedifying spectacle by playing out their bilateral squabbles
before the multilateral forum of the Non-Aligned Movement ... By publicly wrangling with each other, India
and Pakistan misdirected energies that should have been more fruitfully devoted
to the enhancement of the cooperation between developing countries as they face
the multifaceted challenges posed by globalization and the efforts of the great
powers to change the rules of international conduct ... India and Pakistan
could have worked with the rest of NAM to design suitable mechanisms that would
allow the people of the developing world to deal with their multilayered
miseries without resorting to terror."
Pro-BJP right-of-center The Pioneer
argued (2/26): "Musharraf displayed
automaton-like predictability by brandishing the 'K' word at the 13th
Non-Aligned Movement summit.... The
global community has long come round to New Delhi's firm stand on
Kashmir.... It is perhaps the growing
isolation of Pakistan, which has undergone a post-9/11 baptism as the
'epicentre of global terrorism', that gives an edge of juvenile hysteria to its
Head of State's utterances....
Vajpayee's stinging rejoinder took the wind out of Pakistani
sails.... The larger import of his
forceful statement was not lost on the 63 Heads of State and Government in NAM
attendance.... In this context, though
NAM stood solidly behind India through the unseemly episode, some forum members
displayed discomfiting defensiveness when the draft statement on terrorism was
being framed. Doubtless the Iraq crisis...compelled this intellectual
slipperiness. But the fact remains that
terrorism cannot be clubbed with the problem of U.S. unilateralism.... Indeed, the faith-neutral and universally
accepted definition of terrorism, represented by UN Resolution 1373, does not
condone instrumentalist use of violence in the name of supposed inalienable
rights and 'higher' causes."
The centrist Times of India editorialized (2/24): "The non-aligned movement's summit to be
held in Kuala Lumpur next week comes at a time when one of its members faces an
imminent war. Whatever the final outcome
of the summit, it will almost certainly generate much by way of rhetoric and
declarations. An early indication in
that direction is Malaysian deputy prime minister's remarks that NAM must unite
to become the legitimate voice of those who are opposed to the war against
Iraq. Yet, the fact remains that a
number of participants have already extended active support to the military
campaign against Iraq. Indeed, despite
the loud complaints about the anti-Islamic orientation of the campaign, the
United States in reality has had no difficulty buying up support in the Islamic
world--either through dollar cheque diplomacy or by promising security of oil
to the richer Arab states.... The
non-aligned movement was founded on three fundamental principles: Disarmament,
development and autonomy of decision-making.
With the end of bipolarity and emergence of the U.S. as the sole
superpower, not to mention the globalization of the market, all three
principles have virtually collapsed."
"A New Old India"
An analysis in the centrist The Asian Age by bureau chief
Seema Mustafa maintained (2/24):
"Instead of allowing his advisers to fill his ears with U.S.
propaganda about the irrelevance of NAM, it will be a great achievement if the
Prime Minister decides to use India's unquestionable clout to give a new
impetus to non alignment. The impending
U.S. war on Iraq is going to be a major issue at the meeting in Kuala Lumpur
and India can seize the opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to peace, and
opposition to unilateral hegemony. Iraq
is going to be a major issue at the meeting in Kuala Lumpur, and India can
either play Washington's game by chewing the end of the straw or strike out for
the principles of justice and equality....
The government's reply to the debate in Iraq in Parliament, however, is
a clear indication that U.S. pressure is working and India is now entertaining
second thoughts about unequivocally supporting the peace movement that is
reverberating through the streets of the western world....
"The east is looking for a leader. It could have been India, but it will not be
India. We have lost sight of what we had
tried to set out as our goals shortly after attaining independence.... The Bush administration is using pure
blackmail to convince the governments of the world to support a war on Iraq. India is one of the nations to be wooed with
the offer of money and oil. Military
clout, promise of oil, waiving off debts are all the ingredients of new
America's quest for power and control of the oil fields of Iraq. And regrettably, like the tiny countries
around us we too have succumbed to what many in our government like to insist
is the inevitable. For, we do not have the strength of purpose, the courage or
the commitment to challenge the 'inevitable.'
A government strong from within would not hesitate to strike out for the
right against the wrong. A government
that does not know how to build a nation will insist that the wrong is a
"Delhi Lowers Decibel On Anti-War Rhetoric"
Diplomatic correspondent Pranay Sharma wrote in the centrist The
Telegraph (2/22): "India has
decided to adopt a cautious approach on the fast-paced developments on Iraq
despite rising anti-war sentiments in the country. Though it is against the U.S.'s
unilateralism, it does not want to put itself in a corner if the UN gives the
green signal for armed action against Saddam Hussein.... Delhi's strategy was laid down by South Block
on the eve of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's departure for Kuala Lumpur
to attend the Non-Aligned Movement Summit....
Indications are that the impending U.S.-led war in Iraq would dominate
discussions at the summit of the developing nations.... However, as Vajpayee and his delegation leave
for the NAM summit, it is clear that India wants some maneuvering space on the
issue.... The government is against a
parliamentary resolution on Iraq as it fears that the move would leave it with
little elbow room to negotiate a text on Iraq at the summit in the Malaysian
capital.... Some suggest that India's
flexibility has much to do with not displeasing the Bush administration. But officials argue that the days of
confrontation with the West are over."
An editorial in the Lahore-based Daily Times read
(2/27): "The 13th summit of the
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) that concluded in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February
25 expressed a collective opposition to America's anticipated attack on Iraq
without the approval of the UN Security Council.... Today many states present at Kuala Lumpur
nursed bilateral disputes that needed sorting out more urgently than the global
issues that the summit tried to tackle collectively. But a majority of the states were poor and
had little hope of getting any assistance from NAM to show any backbone when it
individually came to confront the big trading nations. Although bilateral disputes were kept
carefully out of the Declaration, the leaders could not be restrained from
going at one another during speech making. "
"NAM's Timely Call"
The Islamabad-based rightist Pakistan Observer declared (2/27): "The 116-nation Non-Aligned Movement
(NAM) has rejected any invasion of Iraq without UN Security Council's approval
and pressed Iraq to actively cooperate with the weapons inspectors.... The NAM Summit has rightly emphasized the
central role of the UN Security Council in the Iraqi crisis and its loud and
clear message to Washington to prefer peace and dialogue over war is the most
appropriate call in the given circumstances....
The United States should, therefore, listen to the sane call from the NAM,
the second largest international body after the United Nations, and refrain
from its unjustified and unwarranted warmongering."
Centrist national The News opined (2/27): "The political and moral weight of the
NAM declaration lies in the fact that, unlike the Arab League and the OIC, it
does not reflect a narrow regional or religious view, but the entire spectrum
of world opinion outside the developed and dominant West. As many as 116 nations have, thus, taken a
collective stand against the unilateralism of the Bush administration. Juxtaposed with the massive public protests,
this will not be easy to ignore....
NAM's position on global economic issues is, primarily, an indictment of
globalization, the much-touted benefits of which are nowhere near trickling
down to the poor. But it should also be a reminder to its members that, while
issuing declarations is important, the cause and cure of their problems lies in
negotiating the new international economic order with the World Trade
Organization. That is where a firm and united stance against the self-serving
policies of the developed world would make the most difference."
"Kuala Lumpur Declaration"
The center-right national Nation commented (2/27): "It must not have been easy for 116
countries representing three continents, Asia, Africa and Latin America, to
formulate a consensus on a variety of important issues. Therefore, while the Declaration
is in the main a brave attempt to voice some of the vital concerns of the Third
World, it also contains compromises....
The NAM members need to increase coordination to deal with these issues.
The Movement, in search of a role after the Cold War, can obtain a new lease of
life by taking a joint stand in the WTO, where its members constitute a
"NAM's 'No' To War"
Karachi-based independent national Dawn editorialized
(2/27): "The Non-Aligned Movement
sent out a strong anti-war signal on Tuesday, at the conclusion of its
thirteenth summit in Kuala Lumpur....
Representing most of the nations of the developing world, NAM's morally
and politically upright position on the issue may not have much bearing on
whether or not the U.S. goes to war, but it certainly serves to underline the
depth of feeling worldwide against such an act.... Malaysia, the host nation and chairman of
NAM, must be commended for steering the summit skillfully and getting a strong
message across to the developed world. If one of the aims of the summit was to
revitalize the organization and formulate a united stand against political and
economic domination by the richer nations, the summit was clearly a
"Kuala Lumpur Declaration"
Populist Urdu-language Khabrain thundered (2/27): "The declaration issued at the
culmination of the NAM Summit states that the organization would welcome all
efforts to avert a war against Iraq and would accept a UN role, rather than a
unilateral action.... Despite world
opposition and opposition from more than two permanent members of the Security
Council, President Bush has said that the U.S. would go it alone if the UNSC
does not support the new resolution. The
question now is: what punitive action must be taken against a country that acts
against the will of the Security Council?
The U.S. might be the sole superpower, but that does not give it the
right to go around accusing others. The
U.S. must try to spread peace instead of creating unrest and turmoil around the
"The Voice Of Human Conscience"
Popular Urdu-language Din said (2/26): "The new global system based on justice
and equality that Mahatir Muhammad has dreamt of in his speech--at the second
largest global forum after the UN--might remain simply a dream. However, we must keep raising our voices in
favor of truth and justice--if for nothing else but to make ourselves believe
that our conscience is still alive."
"Pakistan's Major Achievement At NAM"
Center-right national daily, The Nation maintained
(2/26): "As the 13th NAM Summit
concluded on Tuesday with its rejection of unilateralism and threat of force
against any sovereign state, Pakistan made a major achievement by having
incorporated in the Final Document its demand for differentiation between
terrorism and struggles for the right of self-determination.... The Heads of Government or State of the
Non-Aligned Movement viewed that war against Iraq would be a destabilizing
factor for the entire region and that it would have far reaching political,
economic and humanitarian consequences for the world. They reaffirmed their commitment to achieve a
peaceful solution to the current situation."
"NAM: A Historic
An editorial in the Karachi-based independent national daily, Dawn
judged (2/24): "The Iraq crisis,
where the world's sole superpower seems determined to act unilaterally in
attacking a sovereign nation even without UN sanction, gives NAM the perfect
opportunity to reappraise its role in a unipolar world.... The collapse of the Soviet Union plunged the
forum into a deep identity crisis from which it has not yet fully
recovered. NAM's 116 members must now
strive hard to chart a new course for the organization and find a raison d'etre
for its existence.... Representing the
muted voice of the developing world, NAM must forcefully demand a fairer new
deal for the developing world in the context of globalization. The Kuala Lumpur summit provides NAM a
perfect opportunity to revitalize itself and resume its role as a strong force
for peace, justice, progress and sanity in a unipolar world."
"NAM's Residual Importance"
Lahore-based daily, Daily Times editorialized (2/23): "Given the large membership, the
significance of NAM in world politics remains negligible. Three years ago, its summit in South Africa
made no impact on the world scene. This
time, however, its communiqué is expected to add to the strength of the voices
being raised against an impending invasion of Iraq by America."
"Relevance of NAM"
The centrist national daily, The News maintained
(2/23): "The Non-Aligned Movement
(NAM), which meets in Malaysia on Monday, is the only major global organization
that still exercises a moral clout in international affairs, albeit without the
wherewithal to impose its decisions....
NAM's original purpose as a non-aligned way between the two blocs that
marked the Cold War division of the world lost its meaning with the demise of
the Soviet Union, signaling the end of political and military
confrontation. Its relevance, however,
remains as a guide to strike a path for the peace-loving nations in a world
that is still troubled by the policy of big powers, which seek to impose their
authority over the world.... The Kuala
Lumpur summit will be a defining moment for NAM to show whether it can rise to
face the new challenge. Its members will
have to grow out of the divisions that tended to split it into partisan groups
and thwarted every effort to adopt meaningful resolutions. It is not that the Movement will be required
to divide the world between blocs, but to create a moral position of strength
to resist the threat posed by super states out to exercise their muscle
"Kuala Lumpur Conference"
Popular Urdu daily Din commented (2/23): "Developing countries must set up their
own trade organization. Now that the
Cold War has ended, the efficacy of the Non-Aligned Movement lies only in economic
and trade issues. On the political
front, the only issue before them is to stop the sole superpower from acting on
its whims. On the economic front,
however, it is NAM's responsibility to safeguard the interests of the weaker
nations so that the stronger nations do not reap the benefits of their
labor. It would be a major achievement
if the Kuala Lumpur summit is able to devise a way through which developing
countries enjoy the fruits of their economies."
"Crucial Choices For NAM"
An editorial in the center-right national daily, The Nation
held (2/22): "However irrelevant
NAM might be deemed to have become with the end of the Cold War, the views of
an organization comprising 114 countries, the largest after the UN, cannot be
brushed aside lightly. A firm and united
pledge to work for resolving disputes through peaceful means is needed.... But the U.S.-Iraq standoff is not the only
concern NAM members, consisting of nations in different stages of development,
have. Their aspirations of becoming
advanced societies stand being effectively thwarted through the sweet pill of
globalization. The Western nations,
while extolling its virtues as an agent of universal economic growth, are too
chary to give the underdeveloped world its rightful due. Restrictions on the import of goods, which
can compete in quality as well as prices, the quota system and high tariffs
turn sour the dreamlike scenario of prosperity they paint. Besides, globalization should not be confined
to the movement of goods alone. Open
access of labor to developed societies is practically impossible at this stage,
but the NAM, including 83 out of the existing 145 WTO members, could forcefully
present the case to get an increasing flow of their labor force westward."
SRI LANKA: "NAM: Bashing Uncle Sam alone is not enough"
Opposition English-language daily Island
commented (2/28): "The Thirteenth
Non-aligned summit held in Kuala Lumpur ran true to tradition with some
relentless verbal bashing of Uncle Sam....
All this was amply justified. The
threat of warring against Iraq, even without approval of the United Nations,
can by no means be justified.
But...barking at the moon is not enough.
New political and economic strategies have to be formulated.... Cannot this 114-nation organization work out
plans to pool their resources for their betterment, instead of always running
to First World countries with the begging bowl while abusing them? With the end of the Cold War, even the
semblance of unity that existed has disappeared. As cynics say, the watchword of the Non
Aligned Movement now appears to be:
United We Fall, Divided We Stand!"
"America should respect the International
Independent Tamil daily, Thinakural
commented (2/26): "The recent
protest rallies which took place...throughout the world...should make the Bush
Administration...aware of public opinion in this world. It should be considered as greater than the
resolutions passed by the Security Council....
The Holy See has also said that America...should obey international
law. At the same time the...Non Aligned
Countries hope to pass a resolution condemning any attack on Iraq. Malaysian Premier Mahathir Mohammed, the
current NAM Chairman, has warned that the 'The war against Iraq will be
considered a war against Muslims.'"
Center-left Daily Dispatch commented (2/27): "A resolution backing Robert Mugabe's
land policy and calling for the lifting of all sanctions will be a boost for
Mugabe's cabal. It could also be an embarrassment
for the Non-Aligned Movement.... United
in opposition to war on Iraq, NAM is in a mood to back anything which might
pinch the United States and Britain....
Positions on Zimbabwe have...been stuck in the dust for so long many
salient issues have been lost. Contrary
to the popular view...Lancaster House Agreement does not commit Britain to a
buy-out of white land. Britain...agreed
to contribute and to rally support from the international donor
community.... But years of poor
management and heavy spending by Mugabe's cabal saw his political star waning
and the Movement for Democratic Change rising.... South Africa gave full support to Mugabe and
urged NAM to do the same. Such outright
support for a government which has lost a referendum, an election and its food
supply shows no regard for democracy or humanity."
"Mugabe's Allies Could Regret Their Support For Yesterday's
Deputy editor Jethro Goko wrote in balanced Business Day
(2/28): "The important issue is why
nations such as SA and Nigeria are willing to put their own relations with the
developed world at risk--given what they stand to lose in the long term and the
unpredictability of Mugabe. Also, are
Mugabe's sympathizers willing to vote with their pockets to pull him out of the
economic mess he has dug himself into, to the extent that Zimbabwe now has to
rely on food aid from Washington? It
would seem to me that the developing world and Africa in particular are taking
too long to wake up to the fact that Mugabe may have been a hero for a long
time, but is now yesterday's man.... The
vast majority of Zimbabweans don't think that he is the right man to lead them
out of the current political and economic crisis gripping the country.... It is a grim picture indeed, which makes
Africa's endorsement of Harare even more puzzling."
"Challenges Facing NAM"
Johannesburg's independent The Star
commented (2/26): "Now that the
Cold War has ended, is there any reason for the continued existence of the
Non-Aligned Movement? After all, NAM was
established by countries that wanted to remain independent of the conflict
between Western imperialism and Soviet domination. We are of the view that NAM still has a role
to play in international politics, especially in the light of efforts by the
United States and its allies to undermine the United Nations. And considering that there is essentially
only one surviving superpower, NAM, which has more than 100 member countries,
can provide a counterbalance against U.S. unilateralism.
"But for NAM to retain credibility, it
should maintain a moral high ground. In
this regard, it should have pronounced its displeasure at the abuse of human
rights in Zimbabwe [and]...its disapproval of any weapons of mass destruction
in Iraq. Maverick talk by the new
chairperson, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, in which he accused the
West of breeding terrorism, is hardly helpful.
For its own credibility and integrity NAM should not only be concerned
about the plight of people living under suppressive regimes, but should also be
seen to be against such repression....
By putting blame for the Zimbabwean crisis on the failure of Britain to
honour its promises, NAM has blessed the chaotic land reform programme that has
contributed to mass starvation in Zimbabwe.
And by joining the U.S.-bashing bandwagon, without explicitly calling on
Saddam Hussein to abide by the UN resolution to disarm, the body risks seeming
to approve of the Iraqi leadership. NAM
can and should play a key role in the promotion of global peace. But it should start with its members. Failure to inculcate a culture of respect for
human rights may render the body irrelevant."
Slams Bush And Blair"
The government-controlled daily Herald published this
report by Innocent Gore (2/26):
"President Mugabe yesterday accused the United States and Britain
for trying to impose a new form of colonialism on developing countries. Speaking at a summit of the 116-member NAM,
President Mugabe said U. S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister
Tony Blair were imperialists who wanted to create a world where powerful ‘big
brother’ states imposed their will on weaker ones.... Big brother could blatantly use his prejudice
to determine and upset the validity of any elections in the Third World and
declare a validly elected president of a country illegitimate.... The President said power had become to those
who hold it, the determinant of justice, morality and even legality and that
the governing norms of the Third World had been greatly eroded."
CANADA: "No Friends,
Columnist Jonathan Manthorpe observed in the conservative tabloid Vancouver
Sun (2/26): "The efforts of the
NAM summit have been models of moderation beside the sometimes charged language
in the meeting hall. NAM members include
the three countries of Bush's axis of evil as well as five temporary members of
the 15-member UN Security Council that will soon turn thumbs up or down on
military action against Iraq. Their
resolution on Iraq, for example, supports the disarming of Saddam Hussein's
regime, but only by the UN and not by the U.S. acting independently with
allies. The resolution does not preclude
military action under a UN mandate if all else fails.... NAM delegates wanted to take a similar stance
over North Korea. A draft resolution
negotiated in corridors and back-rooms over the past few days would have called
on Pyongyang to reverse its decision late last year to withdraw from the
nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.... The
problem for everyone--North Korea's neighbours at least as much as the U.S.--is
that Pyongyang does have weapons of mass destruction and a highly competent and
motivated million-man army. Saddam, in
contrast, probably has only the remnants of his dreams to acquire a mass
killing machine. Erratic North Korea is
such a dangerous proposition it has to be handled delicately while Iraq does