Tag Archives: Planetary politics

Non-Aligned Movement obscure? I suppose so

Ivan, in a comment, says that my Non-Aligned Movement post is obscure and I suppose it is (which is the point of the story, really) but when I was a kid, the Non-Aligned Movement was a big deal, a sort of glamorous anti-UN for hot countries (countries usually lead by blokes wearing army fatigues or tribal robes). Young lefties in the West thought it was, well, just cool, especially when the alternative was Harold Wilson or Richard Nixon.

Non-Aligned politics represented the opposite of the kind of grey zero-sum dead-end of the cold war. The Non-Aligned Movement’s pronouncements used to be read out at the kind of meetings I went to when I was getting political. Castro and Tito were the big names. The Movement had a place at the big table in an era that begins to look, from here, like a kind of golden age, certainly a simpler time. I guess the Movement’s eclipse was inevitable, especially once countries started to drop out. Non-Alignment just isn’t cool any more. As a diplomatic option is seems to be available only to nutcase-States like North Korea and Yemen. Alignment is where it’s at (and yesterday, George Bush landed in Mongolia to thank that nation for its careful alignment with the US-led coalition in Iraq).

Non-Aligned Movement Non-Interesting

The first ever meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement, Belgrade, 1961
The Non-Aligned Movement (anyone remember the Non-Aligned Movement?) has decided that it doesn’t get the news coverage it deserves in the Western Media and that the movement needs to do something about it. The group, which was set up in the Sixties as a kind of alternative, anti-imperialist UN, and which still represents over half the planet’s population, has decided to set up a news agency of its own, called NNN (for Non-aligned movement News Network) which will be based in Malaysia and work to achieve fair coverage for the Southern half of the planet in the Northern half’s press. It would be way too flippant to respond that the NAM might get better coverage if it ever actually did anything (so I’d never do that), but there’s an obvious and painful irony in the fact that the Western press has apparently completely ignored the announcement. Update: The Beeb is now running a story about the announcement (from a World Service source).