A New Niche for the Moribund Non-Aligned Movement

by Thomas H. Naylor

Recently by Thomas H. Naylor: The World Is Coming Unglued at the Seams, But Maybe That's Not All Bad

As Secretary-General of the fifty year old Non-Aligned Movement, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be in a unique position to inject new life into the moribund 120-member organization by positioning it to confront the American Empire and its principal apologists — Israel, England, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and NATO.

The NAM was organized in 1961 by the leaders of Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, and Yugoslavia as an independent voice for so-called Third World nations between the Western and Eastern blocs in the Cold War. The organization has never been very effective, but even less so since the Cold War ended in 1991.

The countries of the NAM represent nearly two-thirds of the United Nations's members and contain 55 percent of the world population. Most of the members are small, poor countries located in Asia, Africa, or Latin America or on a handful of islands scattered around the world. Five of them are meganations. India has a population of 1.2 billion, but Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Pakistan each have populations of over 100 million.

Notwithstanding the fact that five of the member states of the Non-Aligned Movement are clearly meganations, I believe President Ahmadinejad should cast his lot squarely on the side of the small nations of the world confronting the immoral, corrupt, decaying, dying, failing American Empire.

It's high time the small nations of the world stand up to the meganations and say, "Enough is enough. We refuse to continue condoning your plundering the planet in pursuit of natural resources, treasure, and markets to quench your insatiable appetite for consumer goods and your lust for political, economic, and military power." The NAM could play a major role in facilitating this process. Without exception the governments of the megastates are too big, too centralized, too undemocratic, too unjust, too powerful, too intrusive, and too unresponsive to the needs of individuals and small communities.

Iran has been given a bum rap by the United States for nearly seventy years. It has been considered persona non grata in America since Iranian revolutionaries seized the U.S. Embassy on November 4, 1979. Few Americans recall that in 1953 when the Eisenhower administration disapproved of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, the CIA removed him from office, had him placed under house arrest, and installed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi as head of state. Most Americans have also forgotten that Ronald Reagan collaborated with Saddam Hussein to destroy Iran. All the while Reagan had arranged for the Israelis to sell weapons to the Iranians to finance the Contras in Nicaragua whose aim was to overthrow the duly elected Sandinista government. Such financial aid had been specifically banned by the U.S. Congress. Is there any reason why the Iranian government should be particularly fond of the United States?

By virtue of its population size, 75 million, its importance to the Muslim world, and the fact that it has the world's second-largest proven reserves of conventional crude oil after Saudi Arabia, and the second-largest natural gas reserves after Russia, Iran is well positioned to demand and receive a place at the table alongside the United States, China, and Russia. To achieve this goal Iran needs a new paradigm. But the NAM could provide Iran with such a paradigm, namely by becoming the voice of the small nations of the world.

I believe Secretary-General Ahmadinejad should convene a special meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in 2013 to consider ten important issues:

1. The highly Islamaphobic war on terror being waged by the United States in collaboration with its three closest allies, Israel, England, and Canada, as well as NATO.

2. Israel's acts of terrorism, genocide, and ethnic cleansing against its Palestinian neighbors, all with the unconditional support of the United States.

3. The hypocrisy of Israel being treated as though it were the only nation in the Middle East entitled to possess nuclear weapons.

4. The U.S.-Israeli cabal's strategy to hegemonize the Middle East.

5. A White House culture defined by smart power and death — F-35 fighter jets, unmanned killer drones, Navy Seals, Delta Force death squads, and a kill list; and a President who has granted himself the authority to order the assassination of anyone, anywhere, anytime, with no questions asked, no trial, and no due process — just pure law of the jungle.

6. The demonization by Washington of the political leaders of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela.

7. The immoral, illegal, undeclared wars in which the American Empire is engaged in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and (via Israel) Palestine, not to mention the clandestine wars being carried out by the CIA and paid mercenaries on behalf of the Empire.

8. The threat of war with Iran by the United States and Israel enhanced by deliberate acts of provocation.

9. The half century long Cuban embargo.

10. The moral, intellectual, political, and spiritual bankruptcy of international megainstitutions such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.

In no sense am I suggesting that Iran represents some kind of panacea which can save the world from chaos and destruction. Iran's human rights abuses are no secret. It is a big country, and not unlike most other large countries, its behavior is not always exemplary.

The small nations of the world need a forum where their views can be heard, processed and acted upon. The United Nations is no such forum. The U.N. Security Council, where its so-called permanent members still hold veto power, is an anachronism of the past based on yesterday's realities rather than today's truths.

So long as we continue to live in a meganation world, perhaps there is a need for some, if not all, of the meganations to meet occasionally outside of the United Nations. I believe a case can be made that such a Global Council might include the U.S., China, Russia, India, Brazil, and Iran. The Global Council would have no coercive or military powers whatsoever. It would simply provide an occasional platform for open discussion and a place where the views of smaller, poorer nations might possibly be presented by Iran on behalf of the NAM. The Global Council could be viewed as an initial step towards phasing out the obsolete, ineffective U.N. and ultimately replacing it with a more participatory, more democratic organization representing the interests of all of the nations of the world rather than just those of a handful of nations.

Iran is well positioned to play an important role as the principal advocate of the small nations of the world. As such, it deserves a seat at the table of global public opinion. The sooner Washington and Tel Aviv figure this out, the better off we will be.

Thomas H. Naylor is founder of the Second Vermont Republic and Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University. He is the author Secession: How Vermont and All the Other States Can Save Themselves from the Empire, The Vermont Manifesto: The Second Vermont Republic and co-author of Ajjluenza, Downsizing the USA, and The Search for Meaning.

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