NAM, The World’s Next Major Decision Maker?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Interview with Gholamali Khoshroo
Senior Editor of the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Islam

As we move closer to the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Tehran, some more serious and insightful discussions on position and nature of the movement are generated by political analysts. Some critics believe that the non-aligned movement has lost its essential efficiency, because the initial ideologies on which the movement had been established in 1961 are not available anymore. However, Gholamali Khoshroo, Senior Editor of the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Islam, in an interview with Iranian Diplomacy poses other viewpoints on the issue. He introduces the NAM member states as the next major players of the international scene that will make many vital decisions.

Q: A number of analysts believe that annihilation of the dominant bipolar system which underlay the philosophy of NAM establishment during the Cold War years had obliterated the main ideology and objectives of the movement; do you think that the movement has succeeded to redefine its objectives?

A: Although development of NAM amidst the bipolar world in 1961 and preserving its independence from either East or West blocs, as its noble ideal, are the facts which cannot be denied, the objectives the NAM member states defined for their movement are still alive and can be taken advantage of. For instance mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty, cultural, social and economic cooperation, Mutual non-interference in domestic affairs, and peaceful co-existence are among important values that are still respectable. Thus, calling such great values obsolete is nothing but a false claim. On the other hand, some new challenges emerged as the results of the world’s new arrangement. The United States unilateralism policies and its incursion into the NAM member states such as Afghanistan and Iraq have underlined the necessity of promoting further companionship and consultation among the other countries with the aim of impeding such depredations.

The new world has been provided with the new areas and bedrocks of which the NAM states can take advantage to maximize their technological and economic capacities and developments. Presently, the developing countries' economy is experiencing a considerable growth and the world’s economic hubs are being displaced from the United States and European countries to new territories. As some outstanding samples of such economic growth India, the Southeast Asian nations, the Latin American countries and South Africa demonstrate the fact that the planet is experiencing dramatic changes. The NAM member states and or their allies become the main producers of the globe’s necessary products, they also are considered as the biggest world’s consumers too; hence, they enjoy both broad consumption and production markets. Today, the European countries prefer to provide services rather to produce products; therefore we should expect a brilliant future for all members of NAM.

Q: When the bipolar system was collapsed the number of countries joined the movement was escalated, what is their incentive ato do so? 

A: Continuing a pervasive companionship for more than half a century and preserving an ever-increasing pace in recruiting new members are reliable indicators of the positive role the movement plays in the international scene. Coexistence helps the NAM members to feel power and reliance which in turn strengthens the importance of the non-aligned nations across the world. However, despite having 120 members from five continents, the non-aligned movement has not a permanent secretariat. As you know NAM is an organization without a permanent secretariat, and its arrangements are put forward in United Nation Headquarters in New York City. It can be treated either as an advantage or as a disadvantage; lacking a permanent headquarters prevents the movement to become an organization which the sole reason of its members to participate is keeping it alive; however, lacking a permanent secretariat may affect the procedures negatively and prevent them from being perused seriously. Although there are political, economic and social committees in NAM, they promote their opinions through issuing statements, manifestos and resolutions.

Q: Regarding the increased number of NAM member states population, it can be concluded that the influence and position of the movement has been increased in the international system?

A: Both the increased population of NAM member states and their economic and political power are correct but the international system and structure has not been reformed accordingly. I think the international system has failed to regulate its steps with the international developments. Despite the long-standing hard efforts, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)’s structure stays intact so far and the power of veto is confined to the World War II conquerors, while some of them have lost their former position in comparison to a number of NAM members. Hence, the international system’s structure must be adapted to such kind of realties. In my opinion the future international system will be managed by the non-aligned states. Please keep in mind that the rules of game had been changed too and the security issues are not as important as before and they are being substituted by the economic, social and demographic indicators. Therefore, I think the non-aligned nations will impose automatically their influence on the current international configuration and will achieve the position they deserve to have.

Q: Can you enumerate a list of issues that must be emphasized by NAM?

A: The non-aligned nations may concentrate on issues which are helpful in keeping them united and in counteracting the pressure imposed by the major powers against them. They have to omit anything which may cause division among them and overshadows their relations with the rest of the globe. Four themes of economy, social development, education and health can be treated as the main pivots of NAM states multilateral ties. Although their political authority is far from its golden days of establishment, the NAM nations’ power and economic infrastructures are convergent with the globalization horizons which will lead them into an extraordinary position in the world.

Q: Please explain your opinion about the westerners’ position towards NAM.

A: The West always has attempted to downplay any organization in which they have little influence, if any. It is the case for non-aligned movement. I think the universe is a place for competition and any creature participates in this competition based on its own capacity. Today, a number of non-aligned nations weigh against many broken European countries. Thus, naturally the West feels inconvenience to see this, but the world thinks otherwise and asks the West to recognize its status and to avoid discriminatory treatments which may set them aside in future.

Q: What is the importance of holding the 16th NAM summit in Tehran and what is the Iran’s role in the movement?

A: Evidently, holding the summit in Tehran is an important phenomenon and Iran can seize the opportunity to show its economic, social and cultural position to the world; meanwhile the boards who touch Iran for the first will find the chance to envisage a new picture of the country. However, Iran presides over the summit and has to follow the consensus views issued by all members. Iran is not able to play any other role except managing the summit. Though a few countries may be inclined to the West, countries like Iran has defined their foreign policy based on independence from the west countries, so Iran is ready to share its experiences with any country that enthusiast for.

Key Words: 16th Summit of NAM, Tehran, Efficiency, Initial Ideologies, Bipolar System, International System, Iran, Khoshroo

Source: Iranian Diplomacy (IRD)
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

More By Gholamali Khoshroo:

*Transcending the Secularism-Fundamentalism Binary Opposition:

*Nervous Attack of High-Ranking Commanders:

*Islamic Awakening: Review of Political Developments in Tunisia and Egypt:

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