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Nigeria and Its Foreign Policy: Can Russia and India Revive Non-aligned Nations ?

By Abbati Bako

When shall the world be at peace and be free from wars and conflicts? Shall our children and great grand children survive in the 21’s century?

The role of non-aligned nations in world peace and the analysis of the situation and PMB should talk on the revival of non-align nations. Russia and India last week on the revival of NAN or NAM that became toothless dog. What is the possibility that Russia and India can make NAN functional? What type of contributions has they given at this era of global pandemic of Covid-19?

What are the activities of the non-aligned countries? For what purpose was the organization created? What is their foreign policy stance? Does the organization so far achieve its purpose and objectives as regards to foreign policy stance? Does it have a similar function with NATO or Commonwealth for example? What future prospect does the movement have? And why some other nations of the world did not join the movement especially developed nations of the northern part of the globe?

After analyzing and digesting these questions this writing will come up with its argument as whether the countries that aligned themselves achieve desirable foreign policy result or not . Also the writing will base its argument on actions rather than on mere statements. For example, on September 11, 2007 the non aligned movement rejected any “interference” in Iran nuclear transparency deal with United Nations inspectors by western countries through the United Nations Security Council.

And again, on July 30, 2008 the non-aligned movement welcomed the continuing cooperation of Iran and IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and reaffirmed Iran’s right to the peaceful uses of nuclear technology. This is the kind of statements used to come out from this movement but with no actions; in case of an aggression or military attack from the west or Israel what measures or action would the non-aligned movement will take? For the past more than fifty years; this organization has never taken any practical actions that will safeguard or serve the interest of their member nations. Has they ever do?

The activities of non-aligned countries include holding conferences at different time around the world; voicing out their views on world affairs, be it economy, social and political matters. That is to say the main aims are to represent the political, economic and cultural interest of the developing world. The NAM does not have the constitution or a permanent secretariat. Its highest decision making body is the conference of heads of states or government, which usually meets once every three years. At this time the post of NAM chair is passed to the host country of the summit. Cuba took up the chair of the NAM at the September 2006 at Havana summit, took over from Malaysia.

The last meeting was held in July 2009 in Egypt.
Nicholas Rengger observed that, “Since mid-1950s delegation from countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America have met in conference, from time to time, to define their common attitude with relation to international affairs, and to try to bring about closer solidarity in economic, cultural, and political field. These countries, which represent the less privileged parts of the world as some time referred to as “third world” or since most of them form part of nether the western (capitalist) bloc or the eastern (communist) bloc, as the “non aligned” or uncommitted nations.” In this respect, it is worth saying that, the non- aligned countries had made tremendous achievement by taking stand in their foreign policy to see all nations of the world got independence from their colonies and maintain peace and integrity in their sovereign nations.

But this writing argue that in term of economic and practical political prosperity the non- aligned nations are still backward, some of them underwent civil war, military coups and dictatorship and some are still at loggerhead with each other, like India and Pakistan. But very few of them, like Brazil, Indonesia and India just to cite example (the formation of BRICS is a fantastic economic idea), who the world must be recon with in the world economy and democratic practice. Another negative example is on one of the non-aligned member nation that is Bangladesh. The foreign policy of this poor nation with other countries of the world has been so moderate and place heavy reliance on multinational diplomacy especially at the United Nations and WTO since independence in 1971. It stressed its principle of friendship towards all nations of the world. But still the country remains the most corrupt and poorest nation on earth. Why non-aligned nations cannot help the poor nations like Bangladesh, as the EU bailed out Greece and Spain from economic crunch?

I understand that the NAM relevance in the affairs of the world must be questioned. Since the collapsed of USSR and the death of cold war the NAM outlived its usefulness. In fact, globalization marginalized the activities of non-aligned movement. I understand that the non-aligned countries have not achieved much purpose in term of economic independence among themselves.

Sincerely speaking the future of NAM depended solely on its response to global challenges. Second, the purpose of the organization as stated in the Havana convention of 1979 to ensure the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries in their struggle against imperialism, colonialism, racism and all form of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against great power and bloc politics. Also among the purpose include, respect for the fundamental human rights and for the purposes and principles of the charter of the United Nations (why there was no chapter as regard to peace keeping in the UN Charter? Why late Secretary General Daghamashor argued that the Peace Keeping Chapter is between six and six and a half in the Charter and to date no amendment made?) Third, although no point has been raised on security matters among non-aligned countries, this writing understand there is need that the non-aligned countries to include security stand in their foreign policy; similar to that of NATO.

For example, NATO has been in existence since April 1944. USA, Canada and ten European nations signed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Washington DC. Today seven decades plus some months; the NATO offer security for its allies in Europe and other continents of the world; and that helped much in spreading western type of democracy and capitalist system economy and suppresses of communism around the world. Forth, the possibility of future prospect among non-aligned nations is very bleak. No nation or organization can achieve any economic, political or social prosperity without security among its members. The non-aligned nations consists more than 55% of the world population, but what benefit are they gaining within themselves in term of economy and security? Can India and Russia do something at this era of globalism and emergence of Covid-19 and its aftermath?

Although the primary aim of the movement is to avoid backing, supporting or aligning with any super power nation or bloc in case of war or conflicts; but the foreign policy of current generations of global leadership is changing to a more peaceful (war trade) world than before. The signing agreement in 2010 between Washington and Moscow on reducing nuclear stock files is a very good example. This writing argue that non-aligned movement is a toothless, hungry and sick dog in terms of security and economic solidarity. The non-aligned movement held meeting in Cuba on June 2-5, 1982 and “approved a resolution sponsored by Cuba, (but modified), supporting Argentina’s claim to sovereignty over the Falkland (Malvina) Island, deploring the British offensive to recapture the island from Argentina and underlining that the British policy backed by the United States was affecting the whole region”. In this respect what does the non-aligned nations did to help Argentina out of the problem? The globalization policy has changed the system of the world. Therefore, non-aligned movement must review their foreign policy towards for the realizations of economic and security benefit.

If, from the beginning, the aims and objectives of the founding fathers of this movement were to freeing the nations from colonialism, racism and nepotism, they left legacy and deserved credit for the job well done and their desirable efforts to salvage their nations from foreign domination and colonization. But now we are in the 21st century living in the globalized system where democracy and market capitalist economy uniting the nations; example, the 27 European Nations (EU after UK’s exit), the G7, the BRICS and G20 and (democracy never fight one another). The cold war was replaced by trade war. The era of USA—USSR struggle for world power is now a history; there is only one world super power that is the USA but challenge by the Chinese with a view to replace US as a global economic power.

The struggle and the aim of foreign policy of today’s modern world are to dominate the world with economic power and ensure the security of all members of the organization or movement.

This writing argue that the framework that governing the foreign policy of non-aligned movement must be re-check, re-shape and re-designed to come to terms and conditions with the globalization’s policy of the world, although this writing strongly view that the NAM nations should sticks to their own culture and values, but they should fine tune their foreign policy on economy, security and foreign policy for the benefit of the member nations of non-aligned movement. Professor Chris Brown observed that “From a foreign policy perspective, states attempt to change their environment in accordance with aims and objectives they have set for themselves. From a structural perspective, states attempt to adapt to their environment, making the best of the cards the system has dealt them. Either way, states act in the world. How? What is the nature of diplomacy or ‘statecraft’-a slightly old-world term that has recently been given a new lease of life? “

The thoughts and decision making of today’s leaders seems to be different from leaders of 19s or 20s century. This writing understand that the global leadership of today is much more concerned with the general peace of human family in their countries than competitions in nuclear arms race. The race is on capitalist market economy, democracy, equality, human rights, rules of law and globalization policy generally.

Therefore, non-aligned nations must take notes that developing their own nations at this comparatives world is not an easy task. Europe and America were not built over night; it took time for planning, sacrifice, perseverance, hardworking, determination and patriotism. It is absolutely imperative for the so called non-aligned movement to take similar measures if they are to develop their own parts of the world; for themselves and the generation yet unborn.

Countries that are not in non-aligned nations———

There are several countries that are not in non-aligned movement; most of them are advanced nations of Europe and North America. These countries are called first world. These countries are democratic and capitalist oriented nations. These countries are highly developed in term of human development indices.

The first world countries of the world are measured by their power of wealth (Gross National Product) GNP, military mighty, social and political standard. The United States of America, Canada and the European countries are good examples of first world countries or called technologically advanced nations. United States of America is currently the global leader (26 of global economic activities takes place there) they are the economic power house of the world. But China is struggles to change the history at the moment. But will that be possible USA with 26% of global GDP and only 4% of global population and China with 5.7% global GDP with an every 1/5 of global population is Chinese?

On the other hand, European Union (EU) is an economic and political union between 27 (after exit of UK) member countries located primarily in Europe with population of 510m. They developed a single market through a standardized system of law which applies in all member states, ensuring the free movement of people, goods, and services and speaks with one voice when it matters world politics, economy or security issue. Some of these countries remain observers in the activities of non-aligned movement.

The rationale behind why the advanced countries are not in the non-aligned movement is because of their contention and satisfactions in the affairs of the world and absolute control of their foreign policy mission. They have already developed their own part of the world.

The developed nations are the one formulates the activities of the world affairs; be it economy, political or social matters. They are not dependent at all economically or otherwise; with or without most of the nonaligned countries the advanced countries can survive forever. Therefore, they have no intention what so ever to design a foreign policy that will make it imperative for them to join such ineffective organization. Second, they also have their own different organizations such as NATO, G8, EU and so on; which they channeled their foreign policy stance unanimously. These organizations are more vibrant, sophisticated and advanced and far more effective in foreign policy mission than the so called non-aligned movement. Last, another reason is that, the absolute control of United Nations Security Council is in their hands, therefore, the fear of any foreign policy mission that will go contrary or against their wishes has not been expected and could not go beyond their sight. Also, most of the nations in the NAM are dependent in terms of economy, while advanced nations are independent economically.

For many years the non-aligned movement leaders have been criticizing USA and Western world over the control of United Nations and other international structures. The question one might ask is, apart from verbal criticism what action has the NAM taken in practical terms?

Also, the Non-aligned movement criticized the USA for the invasion of Iraq and the right of the North Korea to own a nuclear technology. What of the other side of the issue? (That is the terrorism and the competition of nuclear arm race?). Non-aligned movement must reinvent its purpose in the current world system. Another major question is whether the NAM can maintain its fundamental ideologies, principles and national independence and territorial integrity and other struggle against colonialism and imperialism at this time of globalization? If no, this writing has argued that there is an urgent need of dissolution of this ineffective organization or on the other hand the foreign policy stance of non-aligned movement be redefined. Can Russia and India do it? If yes, it is necessary for the movement to emphasize its principles of multilateral ism, equality and non aggression. But the NAM must learn from other sister organizations such as EU, NATO and so on and so forth; in the need to become a stronger voice for the global south, and an instrument that can be utilize to promote the needs of member nations at the international level and strengthened their political leverage when negotiating with developed nations. Convulsively, this writing strongly repeat, this writing has argued that if NAM cannot fine tune its foreign policy stance that will make it effective and vibrant in the current globalized world the organization be dissolved. And my country Nigeria should check out from this none active organization. But if Russia and India can reshape the NAM then Nigeria should wait for a moment to study the situation.

Abbati Bako,psc,UK (political Strategy and Communication Consultant, IPRC, Nigeria)

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