International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

March 3, 2003

March 3, 2003





**  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 Nations."


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 SAM"  


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 in harmony."


"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 crimes."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "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 crises."


SYRIA:  "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."




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 development."


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 reason.”


MALAYSIA:  "Killing Thrust"

Government-influenced 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 Jerusalem."


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."


SINGAPORE:   "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 again.


"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."


THAILAND:  "Can NAM Find Post-Cold War Relevance?"

Kavi 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.”

"Nuclear Expansion Serves No Purpose"

The lead 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"

Independent 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 materialize."


"Multilateral Approach"


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 problems."


"NAM Summit"


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 play."


"Making The Non-Aligned Movement Relevant"


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 their plans."


"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."


"Lusterless NAM"


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 allegations?"


"Unedifying Wrangle"


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."


"General Untruth"


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."


"Non-Aligned Noises"


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 right."


"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."


PAKISTAN:  "NAM's Fractured Message"


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."


"NAM Declaration"


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 majority." 


"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 success."


"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 world."


"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 Opportunity"


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 power."


"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 public opinion"


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.'"    




SOUTH AFRICA:  "Mugabe's Round"


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 Hero"


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."


ZIMBABWE:  "President 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, Only Enemies"


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 not."


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