The Nuclear Politics of the Non-Aligned Movement: Principles versus Pragmatism

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Authors: William C. Potter and Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova

Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Routledge, for the International Institute for Strategic Studies (April 3, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0415696410
ISBN-13: 978-0415696418


The Non-Aligned Movement is the largest grouping of states engaged on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation issues, comprising more than two-thirds of the membership of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Yet, the movement is often misunderstood by Western scholars and policymakers, who typically fail to appreciate the diversity of views among its 120 members and 17 observer states.

This Adelphi explores the structures and politics within NAM, and stresses the potential for greater engagement between NAM members and the West in mitigating many of the most pressing nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation and terrorism challenges. Its thorough examination of how NAM business is conducted, along with an analysis of how prominent members or groups of members have sought to dominate it for their own purposes, offers invaluable insight ahead of the 2015 NPT Review Conference and as NAM approaches a possible watershed moment in the movement's history: the assumption by Iran of the chairmanship in mid-2012.

Drawing on the authors’ first-hand experiences as members of NAM observer-state delegations in NPT and IAEA negotiations, as well as the findings of a larger CNS research project on NAM nuclear politics, the book will provide important new insights about how a small subset of NAM states has tended to dominate NAM politics and have promoted policies that are often at odds with those advanced by Western states on issues such as nuclear terrorism, IAEA safeguards, nuclear export controls, multinational fuel arrangements, proliferation in the Middle East, NPT, and nuclear arms control and disarmament. Based on an analysis of NAM perspectives, politics, and priorities, the book will provide practical recommendations for engaging NAM members in a more constructive fashion on issues related to nuclear nonproliferation, disarmament, peaceful use, and counter-nuclear terrorism.


Nuclear nonproliferation > International cooperation
Nuclear disarmament > International cooperation


"A unique and an exceptional source of accurate information and in-depth analysis of NAM's 50-year struggle for a world free of nuclear weapons. It should guide us in approaching the convening of the 2012 Conference on the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, as well as during the NPT Review Conference of 2015 and its preparatory phase beginning in the spring of 2012." —Ambassador Mohamed I. Shaker, Chairman of the Board of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs and President of the 1985 NPT Review Conference

"It is surprising that NAM has received so little attention from Western scholars. Filling the gap is this book on NAM's nuclear politics. Based on scholarly research and enriched by direct personal experience in NPT conferences, it reveals a depth of understanding rare in Western research. It should receive the careful attention of policymakers and commentators on the influential coalition of nations that comprise NAM." —Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala, President of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference and former UN Undersecretary-General for Disarmament

"An indispensable guide to the labyrinthine politics of the NAM as it struggles to reconcile traditional collective positions with ever more diverse national interests. It makes a compelling plea for a better informed and more sophisticated understanding of what makes the movement tick, and why - notwithstanding the apparent anachronism of 'non-alignment' in the post-Cold War world - NAM will continue to matter in multilateral nuclear forums." —Gareth Evans, Chancellor of the Australian National University and former Australian Foreign Minister

"The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a significant, but mysterious, player in the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) regime. Potter and Mukhatzhanova pull away the veil of secrecy behind which NAM diplomats have developed their negotiating positions, issued their demands, and made their final compromises at NPT meetings. This short book is an important contribution to our understanding of the intricate politics of nuclear diplomacy." —Dr. Scott D. Sagan, The Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science, Stanford University

"William Potter and Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova provide an extensive, nuanced, and illuminating analysis of a significant actor in the NPT context. They explore the complex dynamics within the non-aligned movement and the often influential role that it plays in key institutions of the NPT regime. This book is a must-read for anyone with a serious interest in nuclear nonproliferation. It is a unique and impressive contribution to the literature." —Dr. Steven Miller, Harvard University

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is one of the largest and oldest political groupings. Standing apart from the big military powers it has a tradition of support for disarmament. Where it succeeds in maintaining cohesion despite its diverse membership it weighs heavily in the decision making process — not least by its large membership (120 states). This excellent study is based on personal experience, interviews and documents, and gives us a much needed knowledge of the workings and records of the group." —Hans Blix, Director General Emeritus of the IAEA and Former Chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) for Iraq

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 6, Glossary 7, Introduction 9, Why NAM matters 10, Chapter 1 NAM origins, structure, policymaking and politics 17, Origins 17, Structure and decision-making 21, Opinion leaders and special interests 29, Chapter 2 NAM, nuclear non-proliferation and the 2010 NPT Review Conference 37, NAM and the NPT: the (pre-)history 40, A decade of estrangement 45, NAM and the 2010 Review Conference 50, 2010: too close for comfort, or 'failure was not an option'? 73, Conclusions 76, Chapter3 Peaceful uses and beyond: NAM in Vienna 81, Peaceful uses and NAM priorities 82, NAM at the IAEA 85, NAM and multinational fuel arrangements 86, NAM and Iran's nuclear programme 95, INC resolution controversy 109, NAM and nuclear security/nuclear terrorism 122, NAM and the emerging nuclear safety-security nexus 132, Conclusions 133, Chapter 4 Looking to the future 137, NAM with Iran as chair 143, Conclusion 155, Appendix I List of members, NAM and the G-77 163, Appendix II Prior Non-Aligned Movement heads of state or government summits 167, Notes 169

About the Author

Dr. William C. Potter is Director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) and Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar Professor of Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova is a research associate at the CNS.

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