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Don’t want to choose between the US and China? Experts warn of ‘New Non-Aligned Movement’ on the rise

Don’t want to choose between the US and China? Experts warn of ‘New Non-Aligned Movement’ on the rise

The leaders of the four countries participating in the talks of the Indo-Pacific Security Quartet met in Tokyo on May 24, 2022. (Reuters reposted the photo of the media interview)

The geopolitical landscape after Ukraine’s invasion is often compared to a new Cold War, with many developing countries refusing to take sides or impose sanctions on the war. U.S. President Joe Biden’s just-concluded trip to Asia also faces challenges in uniting Indo-Pacific allies. Some U.S. experts have warned that the Cold War-era Non-Aligned Movement may make a comeback, potentially undermining the free and prosperous rules-based international order led by the United States after World War II.

On May 24, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), an alliance of Japan, the United States, Australia, and India, held a meeting in Tokyo. In remarks before the closed-door meeting, Biden lambasted Putin for cultural genocide, but the joint statement issued after the meeting did not mention Russia or the threat China posed to the international order.

Dan Negrea, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank and former special representative for business affairs at the State Department, told VOA, “I think Biden’s trip has made it very clear that India is not willing to condemn Russia’s second aggression against Ukraine. Among the countries that refuse to condemn this gross violation of the UN Charter, India is one of the most visible examples, along with South Africa, Brazil and other important countries are well-known examples, they are forming a group of countries that we call the ‘New Non-Aligned Movement’.”

On April 7, 2022, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the suspension of Russia's membership in the Human Rights Council, with 93 votes in favour, 24 against, and 58 abstentions. (Associated Press)

Is the Non-Aligned Movement making a comeback?

On March 2, 35 countries, including China and India, abstained from the UN General Assembly resolution calling for Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine. On April 7, the United Nations voted to suspend Russia’s membership in the Human Rights Council. 58 countries, including India, Brazil, South Africa, Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia, abstained. The opponents included Russia, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Iran, and Syria.

Dan Negrea, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council of the US think tank and former special representative for commercial affairs of the US State Department (Photo source- think tank website)

Nigeria, James Jay Carafano, vice president of the Heritage Foundation, a US think tank, and Max Primorac, a senior researcher, recently co-authored that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has changed the dynamics of international relations. pattern, widening the rift between the free world states that support Ukraine and the revisionist powers that support Russia.

“A new feature also emerges in this context: developing countries’ embrace of ‘non-aligned’ status, not just for the war against Ukraine, but more broadly as a principle of international relations.”

The article The UN vote may reveal not only a short-term expedient but also a long-term strategy writes the paper. The main reasons for the resurgence of the Non-Aligned Movement, including the war in Ukraine, are likely to accelerate the process of contemporary alignment, motivated by looming security challenges in the free world.

“There may be more conflicts to be avoided in the future.” The article cited, for example, that in Europe, Putin still has a lot of room for aggression; no one really believes that restarting the Iran deal will solve any problems and the Middle East will become a more competitive space; China may take Taiwan by force, and bet on Africa and South America, which is bound to lead to more head-to-head confrontations with European and American countries.

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Founded during the Cold War, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a loose international organization that seeks to avoid an alliance with either of the two superpowers (the United States and the Soviet Union) and to unite for national self-determination and opposition to colonization ism and imperialism.

After the end of the Cold War, the Non-Aligned Movement became irrelevant, with no headquarters, no permanent establishment, no written agenda, and summits and ministerial meetings usually held every 3 years. The organization currently has 120 member countries, most of which are developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Robert B. Rakove, a historian of Cold War U.S. foreign policy at Stanford University and author of Kennedy, Johnson, and the Nonaligned World Yin said that the organization is too cumbersome and lacks executive power, but it is likely to be more active and revitalized after the Russian-Ukrainian war.

“I think the Non-Aligned Movement, or some of those countries, may become more active. The polarization of world politics will make the Non-Aligned Movement more relevant. The Non-Aligned Movement, like NATO as it is often called, may sometimes There’s a lack coherence or mission, but Russia or the Soviet Union might help fill the gap. That’s certainly what’s happening in NATO right now, and it could happen to the Non-Aligned Movement as well.”

Rakov said the next step will depend on how the United States, Russia, and China play their cards. At the same time, the sudden Ukrainian war, which has hit an already sluggish global economy, will trigger a reaction, and he believes the Non-Aligned Movement will have a fuller voice.

Robert B. Rakove, a historian of Cold War U.S. foreign policy at Stanford University (Photo- University website)

However, Aparna Pande, director of the Future India and South Asia Initiative at the Hudson Institute, told VOA that it is an inappropriate expression to describe the current international situation as “non-aligned”. At present, it is more of a disagreement and agreement as a matter of fact.

“The U.S. today doesn’t say that you have to cut all ties with China, you can’t trade and talk with China, you have to join the U.S. security alliance. The organization of the Non-Aligned Movement is still there, but it doesn’t have the strength it had before the end of the Cold War. These countries are also No longer poor and backward, no longer have to choose one or the other, unlike in the Cold War, you have to join one security alliance or the other.” Pand said, “I don’t see the return of ‘non-aligned’. But if ‘non-aligned’ Refers to agreement or disagreement based on different issues or divergent combinations based on issues, then it has come back. Because now we are facing the rise of China or some degree of concern for the neighbors, the South China Sea, the Indian border, and the world Growing provocations in other regions, the United States and its partners trying to counter China. And the Russian crisis.”

“Non-alignment” is difficult to neutralize, easy to be manipulated, and used by China and Russia?

In recent days, Chinese and Russian state media have frequently called for the revival of the Non-Aligned Movement. On May 19, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi encouraged South-South cooperation through mechanisms such as the Group of 77, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the BRICS when he chaired the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue with Emerging Markets and Developing Countries. Group confrontation.

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The Russian state-run newspaper The Independent published an article on May 20 calling on Russia to quickly win the Russian-Ukrainian war, otherwise, it will allow the West to put more pressure on the “non-aligned countries” and worsen their economic and financial conditions.

Nigeria emphasized that maintaining neutrality in the face of the destructive behavior of revisionist forces such as China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran is actually a form of appeasement and aiding the tyranny.

He noted that under the umbrella of the US-led order, there has been no world war since 1945. In terms of GDP per capita, economic prosperity has increased substantially and the number of liberal democracies has grown, “but recent Russian behavior, as well as China’s military and economic actions, are challenging the rules that are so beneficial to the world.

” Riya criticized, “They are not taking a stand, they are actually taking a stand, in a way to appease the forces of revisionism. Non-alignment is not a force for good that we have had since World War II. The rules-based order of the world has always been a force for good. Without supporting it, these countries are not on the side that is best for global [development].”

Looking back, NAM members have joined in condemning Rhodesia’s Colonial rule and the opposition to apartheid in Namibia and South Africa, but member states failed to agree on when to take sides when the interests of the superpowers played a more direct role, and even for strong powers to violate core principles such as sovereignty and territorial integrity. There is also a great deal of ambiguity about events.

For example, in 1979, members of the Non-Aligned Movement were deeply divided over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. 56 voted at the United Nations to condemn the Soviet invasion, but 9 supported Moscow and 26 abstained. These numbers are very similar to recent votes on the Russian-Ukrainian war.

“If there is a choice between two good countries, or if there are two good choices and someone refuses to choose one of them, that’s a different story. But between maintaining law and order, and not maintaining law and order, The choice was stark. The Non-Aligned Movement didn’t condemn the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, when one country invaded another country with huge loss of life and destruction, the Non-Aligned Movement said it wouldn’t affect us, which I think is a terrible thing. ‘ said Nigeria.

As the leader of the Non-Aligned Movement during the Cold War, India is now on the cusp again. Japan’s Asahi Shimbun quoted an official from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying on the 24th that India will leave QUAD once it becomes “either Russia or us (QUAD), and only one can be chosen”. Agence France-Presse reported that QUAD has struggled to achieve unity due to the divisions that India has shown.

Aparna Pande, director of the Future India and South Asia Initiative at the Hudson Institute in the United States (photo source- think tank website)

The above analysis released by the Heritage Foundation remains optimistic. Although India is likely to be seized by revisionist forces, India must check and balance belligerent China, and may eventually stand on the side of the free world.

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Aparna Pande of the Hudson Institute responded that while she preferred to describe India as strategically autonomous rather than ‘non-aligned’, the non-aligned movement itself was not a disruptive force.

“Pakistan joined the US camp. Where is Pakistan today? It’s in economic crisis, the military has ruled the country half the time, and there’s terrorism inside. Look where India is now? So I don’t think the non-alignment policy itself has a problem. Every country decides on an issue based on its own national interests. US-led world order can be a force for good, but that doesn’t mean everyone has to agree with the US on every issue.”

Prevent China and Russia exploit loopholes, free trade and economic prosperity are the keys:

To pre-empt a new round of non-aligned movements, the above article proposes free-market reforms based on a strong political partnership led by the United States, attracting private investment and mutually beneficial trade ties would be really effective measures, because “freer, safer, more prosperous nations will want to align themselves with the free world.”

“International organizations can also play a role in this, multilateral organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. At the end of the day, the most promising thing is the economic development of these countries themselves, and it has to be organic, developed countries are more likely than less developed countries to be on the side of the free world,” Nigeria said, but Biden in May The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) announced on the 23rd lacks market access and may not be attractive.

Hal Brands, an international strategy scholar at Johns Hopkins University, recently wrote in Bloomberg is suggested that in the face of the arrival of “Non-Aligned 2.0”, the United States urgently needs to carefully consider what its needs are for non-aligned countries, maintain diplomatic flexibility and make necessary compromises.

Brands explained that the United States does not need every country in the world to be on its side, it just needs to unite the decisive power bloc represented by its core democratic coalition in Europe and the Asia-Pacific, while choosing with countries that do not take sides. sexual cooperation. The Biden administration should clarify that the United States is not fundamentally opposed to all autocracies, it is opposed to the combination of domestic illiberal rule and foreign aggression and expansion.

According to Pender, the historical lesson of the Non-Aligned Movement is that each country decides how to respond based on its history, civilization, and geography. “The U.S. is fortunate to be a continent bordered by Canada and Mexico, with no threats from neighboring countries. The rest of the world has a surrounding environment that they must consider and base their policies on. The U.S. should be more in the national interest of others. A little understanding, and then both sides can work together. That’s what Non-Alignment has taught us.”

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