NAM at present with a two-third United Nation’s members and 55% of the world’s population comprising of both small and large players represents cohesion to that extent where one thinks of it as a ‘multicultural’ movement. Founded in the 1915, with 118 member nations, the NAM is based on the foundation of five basic principles that are mutual respect for each country’s sovereignty, mutual non-aggression, not perturbing in domestic affairs, equality and co-existence. In order to examine the cohesion of the small and large players in NAM, we first examine some political influences and restrictions on non-aligned groups and NGOs.
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NAM’s main aim behind formulating the Cold War, to which it confronted in 1961, was to create a niche for newly independent countries seeking to avoid an alliance with either superpower, so as to strengthen their relative economic and political position. The reality was somewhat different in which, many of the group’s members possessed a biased attitude that went in favour of the Soviet Union, so many of its member-states got eager to level a variety of criticisms against the United States.
As soon as NAM preceded the break-up of the Soviet Union, the member-states restored their mission to protect the inviolability of national sovereignty, which was the main aim of the NAM states, therefore by this means most of the nations carried up with a task against the basis of their fundamental struggle adjacent to the prerogatives of the rich nations. All the negative politics was led by the U.S in which the freedom of smaller and weaker states to determine their fate was in the area of trade or development, has become such a priority that it is difficult to find evidence of NAM delegates discussing much else.
The NAM at present proposes a typology which distinguishes among different foreign policy making patterns and mark patterns which vary significantly from centralized state control in Brazil, Egypt, and Malaysia to the multiplication of foreign economic actors in China (Morphet, 2004). However, UN Security Council Resolution which was adopted by consensus on 28 April 2004 set out some obligations in support of counter-terrorism, originated in the multilateral forums (White, 2006).
The Role of International Players
Upon examining the leadership of NAM summit, international players found it obvious that the dominant powers had the most to gain from pressing efforts at cohesion. The most popular ones were Venezuelan, Cuban and Iranian who after analysing their issues most successfully used the summit to advance their transformative ideas while defaming the Bush administration (Nash & Bonker, 1981). Though supported by a number of colleagues, Bush inscribed Venezuela’s effort and wanted to secure the open seat on the UN Security Council. Cuba not lagging behind exercised its power to take the opportunity of hosting the nation to signal a transfer of power occurrence on the island and that the country remained stable with its new leadership in place. Last but not the least, Iran after discovering a sympathetic audience continued its fight to develop an enriching process in order to fuel its nuclear plans (Bond & Bresnahan, Oct 2006).
NAM impose restrictions on recognised NGOs not to openly engage in violence or advocate violence as a political tactic for which liberation movements and other guerrilla groups are never covered by the term non-governmental organisations. The NAM political campaigns and groups took up several guerrilla warfare against colonial authorities and against the South African and Israeli governments that were recognised as ‘national liberation movements’ by the Organisation of African Unity and in several cases became full members of the Non-Aligned Movement. At the United Nations, political extravaganza has enabled the South West African Peoples Organisation (SWAPO) and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) to be given observer status in the General Assembly and a standing invitation to attend all UN conferences.
Non-aligned political groups that either want to replace existing governments or belong to some individual political parties with more broadly based coalitions of opposition groups are not regarded as being NGOs. On the other hand under the influence of large players like USA transnational groupings of political parties, such as the Liberal International, the Socialist International and the International Democrat Union are widely recognised. The formal requirement of being an active participant of the NAM is that an NGO should not be ‘systematically engaging in unsubstantiated or politically motivated acts’ against governments represented in the UN (Willetts, 1996, p. 4).
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Cuba Political System
Under such political battleground, the point to concern is if the Cuban leadership is acting under duress, why have the Cuban people not witnessed more dramatic developments? Since being in NAM, the Cuban politics has portrayed a political system far more formal, institutionalized, and monolithic than the situation any visitor encounters on the island. Regardless of the political ideological perspective and evaluation of the political regime, studies of Cuba have focused on the mechanisms of formal power, whether elite leadership or institutions. Two general perspectives on the articulation of political power top-down and bottom-up are evident in the political battlefield. The top-down perspective highlights the authoritarian, coercive aspects of the system where the level of analysis is the executive elite and the institutions that exert hegemonic social control. Within this perspective, popular participation is formalistic (i.e., mobilization) which is coerced into mass organizations and the single party. With a centralized and stable political system the state is strong, all-encompassing with nonexistent civil society and individuals and groups subjected to the political will of the state which indicates that the legal arrangement in which authority (leaders and bureaucracy) is vested (Schulz, 1994, p. 70). Such an authoritative view of the political system resembles that of the totalitarian model, in which the private and the public are meshed and coercion is enforced through the police, popular mobilization, and the militarization of society.
Neither perspective considers the informal transactions in private and public spheres. Both neglect the fact that Cubans break the official code of conduct on a daily basis, in spite of the state’s attempt to coerce, and at times accommodate, society. In the first perspective, there is little, if any, space for individual and collective resistance with whatever space available falls largely in the private sphere (in the family and small circles of friends) and in public forms of dissimulation. Individuals are portrayed as subjects, not agents, of politics and according to this view, manifestations of autonomous participation are not worthy of study because, all in all, they are ineffective in altering the pillars of the system (Zipper, 1992). In contrast, the second perspective, which is more favourable to the regime, disregards or, at best, discounts the meaning of activities outside the state-sanctioned institutions, and perceives Cubans as agents, not subjects, of the state.
To understand politics in Cuba in a broad sense, and at the social base, one must tackle the informal head on, otherwise, one would miss what happens on a daily basis and what constitutes ‘the political’ at a personal level for most Cubans. Studying informal participation highlights several important aspects of Cuban politics role in NAM: the limits of the state and state capabilities; latent pluralism in the polity; the dynamics of change and conflict in state-society relations and the repercussions for legitimacy and governability; and the average Cuban’s view of politics as projected on behaviour and discourse. Cuban politics is a combination of formality and informality from the top elite to the grassroots of society. The personalisation of charismatic authority has coexisted with a bureaucratic, centralized, and militarized regime. The tension between the two is at the heart of formality and informality at the highest level of Cuban politics. Such contradictions are typical of revolutionary societies which in the early 1960s, expressed in a series of divergent options for constructing the new state.
Political changes and Social attitudes
Numerous times in recent years it is stated that Cuba will not make political concessions during the ‘Special Period in Times of Peace’. Nevertheless, the regime has officially approved reforms that carry a calculated risk while allowing other changes to take place unofficially. Some changes are already being experienced by the population while others appear to be in the planning stages (Aguila, 1986). There are still others of which, although they have been approved, there is little awareness of their implications because the regime has failed to publicize them adequately. Many of these changes are less perceptible to the eye of the casual observer and have gone unreported in the Western media, yet they encompass significant social and political implications that heighten understanding of Cuba today.
Among the most significant changes are the constitutional modifications approved in July 1992. While these modifications did not necessarily translate into immediate visible political changes, they represented a potential basis for evolutionary or revolutionary transformations in the island, depending on the level of political activism and infighting they inspire. Anomic social attitudes, such as acquiescence, resignation, and escapism, present to some degree throughout the revolutionary period, became more prominent and were retarding both the peace and the level of change in Cuba.
These changes and the anomic attitudes in Cuba are the result of the need to cope with severe difficulties under Castro’s Special Period. The circumstances that were held responsible for such changes and to the pronounced development of these social attitudes were heavily influenced by the political and ideological collapse of the socialist bloc and Cuba’s subsequent loss of preferential treatment by Moscow following the disintegration of the Soviet Union. As a result, Cuba embarked on the Special Period and this stage of the Cuban Revolution may be seen as the transition process of a nation that was ideologically, politically, and economically interrelated with a system that was different from the present international order. Apart from the NAM regulations, Cuba underwent a transition that involved the regime’s overall adaptation to very demanding circumstances in pursuit of two basic objectives, Cuba’s economic survival and its own political redefinition without even affecting the NAM.
The Role of Moscow and Havana
Struggles restructured the socialist economies and polities in a manner that engendered intense ideological conflicts, since NAM reforms had to be formulated along ideologically sanctioned lines. However, the virulence of the debate over Third World policies required more explanation which long ago, socialists observed that ever since 1956, the fundamental justification and sign of vitality of the entire Soviet project was its ability to expand into the Third World. Such an expansion where on one hand required Soviet Third World policy to validate the Soviet project, on the other it made only feasible if Soviet security policy did not encounter serious resistance. In the 1970s, events seemed to go Moscow’s way, but by 1981, and the 20th Party Congress, difficulties that ultimately undermined Soviet allies and the Soviet Union itself were seriously limiting Soviet flexibility and power. It was through the imminence of such a succession and power struggle in which Third World policy became a major issue of factional rivalry only intensified these problems.
Soviet caution regarding the Third World became evident after 1980, on the other hand in Central America, arms transfers to Nicaragua and the Salvadoran FMLN assumed the form of a complicated series of cut-outs, third parties, and buffers whose aim was to shield Moscow and Havana from U. S. retribution. Similar caution took place vis-a-vis Grenada. After 1982, Soviet wariness increased and failure to aid Syria during its war with Israel, refusal to defend Grenada in 1983, abandonment of Mozambique to a security regime led by South Africa, and the rejection of its application to the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) and Andropov’s sceptical remarks concerning Third World states all indicated a growing desire to shun riskier security and economic commitments (Schulz, 1996, p. 98). Later under Chernenko’s rule, substantial Soviet Cuban discord occurred over the failure to protect Grenada or give Nicaragua more aid and over Cuba’s declining contributions to CMEA and to Soviet economic progress.
However between 1985 and 1987, Soviet allies and forces in Cambodia, Angola, Nicaragua, and Afghanistan protested and launched repeated major offensives. This was the period of the most successful and brutal Soviet drives in Afghanistan with arms aid to Nicaragua and Vietnam reached its peak despite repeated Soviet criticism of those states’ ineffective and inefficient use of that aid. Civil and military aid to Cuba increased. Under such policies, many Western socialists deemed to think about being tactically cautious, as they invalidated many predictions by analysts who had accepted the growing Soviet disenchantment with Third World revolutions at face value. This kind of disillusionment no doubt affected, but only policy after 1987, when Moscow irrevocably decided to get out of Afghanistan.
Third World Revolution in NAM
In the mid-1980s, when Raymond Duncan observed that the Soviet Union would continue to be active in the Third World and that Cuban aims and policies would not simply replicate Soviet ones, he decided that a substantial decrease in Soviet economic and military aid would increase various regional actors’ ability to deter Cuban support for foreign revolutions in the Caribbean and Central America. Only in this condition he thought that Cuba would become economically dependent, so in order to thrust Cube in dependency on those states for vital resources and energy supplies, he suggested that Havana’s reaction to major shifts in its relations with Moscow would greatly depend on its perception of U.S. policy towards Cuba.
Soviet Union was behind the promotion of Third World revolutions and provided subsidies, arms transfers, and strong ties to Moscow and its satellites as essential components in this campaign for political space and the material basis for conducting a ‘big country’s foreign policy’. In this context Castro’s ability to leverage Soviet support for his grand design depended on his ability to act as broker, or intermediary, between Third World (especially Latin American) revolutionaries and the non-aligned countries, on the one hand, and the Kremlin, on the other. This broker relationship, reflected in Soviet-bloc relations with Grenada, gave Castro bargaining power and leverage vis-à-vis Moscow and entree into several Soviet institutions concerned with such issues: the Central Committee’s International Department, the armed forces, and the KGB. This bargaining power gave Castro great freedom of action in his own policies and the right to conduct initiatives in Angola, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and Grenada, which the Kremlin might then support. Accordingly, Soviet assistance enabled Castro to play the role of world leader and aspire to Third World leadership on South-South issues.
The Role played by NATO in recovering Russia
It would be wrong to suggest that well-defined Community programs were able to perform better in disintegrating the NAM. Rather it would not be wrong to say that NATO itself was busy searching for a better defined role since the end of the Cold War and for the time being, the U.S. and Canada retained their roles as partners in the defence of Europe, consonant with their own security. Meanwhile, the EU in search of a better coordinated program in the external sectors succeeded more in the economic than in the defence sector. But, along with the expansion of the EU and NATO to the east, it was essential for both sectors to get involved with more coordination than ever before (Fischer, 2000, p. 126).
While reckoning the considerable leftovers in both Europe and Asia, Russia was eager to recover the influence it enjoyed before the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet bloc but, with fragile political leadership, a shrunken economy and an insufficient and inconsistent plan to convert to a market economy, Russia remained a large question mark, politically and economically. Since the lesson of Russia was new to the West who after acknowledging the size of Russia’s nuclear arsenal, the size of its economy and its former position of influence in the world, were keen to maintain cordial relations. West while reinforcing its leadership on the international scene had no idea how pro-Western his successor will be. The U.S. supports Europe’s efforts in general, for it widens the scope of U.S./ EU trade pacts and reduces America’s obligations under NATO.
The American Factor
When in 1949, Chinese Communists vindicated the Soviet Union’s faith and served as critical reinforcement for the Soviet regime’s self-justification, it strayed from Soviet orthodoxy, in a manner in which that orthodoxy was diminished. What it chose to do at home with its revolution stirred Soviet concern for its own revolution, not, of course, by endangering the Soviet system’s immediate stability, but by tearing at the unity of values so zealously guarded by Soviet leaders. What the Chinese said and did about revolution elsewhere involved the integrity and coherence of the entire socialist world, particularly those East European parts directly under the Soviet thumb. When China refused to honour the Soviet way of seeing reality, when it challenged Soviet priorities, China, as no capitalist state ever could, raised doubts about the rightness and virtue of Soviet foreign policy itself.
Hence, for Soviet leaders, dense layers of prejudice and concern surrounded the emergence of the Sino-Soviet-U.S. triangle in the early 1970s. More than the long lingering effects of an ancient conquest colored Soviet views of this stunning turn of events. These factors always made understanding the triangle and its impact on Soviet policy toward the United States many-sided and much more involved than merely following the flow of influence along the contours of a geometric shape.
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Yet, for three decades, the Sino-Soviet conflict occupied a critical place in the post-war international order, transforming a stark bipolar conflict into something much more complex and elusive. When the United States and China reached out to one another in the early 1970s, ending nearly a quarter century of antipathy, they further altered the basic dynamic of international politics. To understand post-war Soviet, Chinese, or U.S. foreign policy’s role in NAM cohesion, one must understand the curious and dramatic history of relations among these three powers (Ross, 1993, p. 102).
The effect of the Sino-Soviet- U.S. triangle derived not only from China’s profound significance for the Soviet Union but from the evolution of the triangle itself. For the triangle tending toward instability, as triangular relationships usually do changed considerably over a decade and a half. How, at any given stage, Soviet leaders sized up the impulses influencing the other two parties and the condition of relations between them and between them and the Soviet Union largely dictated the place the triangle occupied in Soviet policy toward the United States. It initiated when China was provided with an initial opening that was a kind of insurance policy that the terms of a U.S.-Soviet would be satisfactory from the U.S. point of view. Over time, however, triangular politics created a different dynamic which helped to build a U.S. consensus in favour of tougher policies toward the Soviet Union. In trying to intimidate China, the Soviet leadership took steps that Washington itself was increasingly obliged to counter. In this way, Sino-Soviet relations, which contributed to the easing of East-West tensions in the early 1970s, played an important part in so called ‘cohesion’ of the NAM by their renewal at the end of the decade. The strategic triangle strengthened the new Soviet leadership’s sense of isolation and overextension in the early 1980s and ultimately contributed to the end of the cold war.
Even Third world did not lagged behind in ‘cohesion’, both the Soviet Union and China had undoubted incentives for restraint in Indochina, yet these incentives did not necessarily derive from the workings of the strategic triangle. The United States, after all, struck North Vietnamese bases in Cambodia more than a year before Kissinger’s trip to Beijing. It was the spring of 1970 when the possibility that the United States might somehow throw its full weight to either side and in particular to China was not ‘unmistakably clear’ at all, but highly speculative. The Soviet and Chinese governments had responded to earlier U.S. escalations in Vietnam with the same detachment they showed in 1970. Their desire to stay out of the line of fire in Indochina was obvious, it did not in any way increase U.S. freedom of action in the endgame of the war. And while keeping their direct involvement limited, neither China nor the Soviet Union curtailed its aid to North Vietnam after the Cambodian invasion.
The trend in U.S.-Soviet relations in the third world was similarly troubling. Not only was the Vietnam War undermining Nixon’s domestic base, but it was also weakening U.S. ability to project power throughout the third world. In 1970 Moscow probed for advantage in the Jordanian-Syrian conflict and sought to base nuclear-armed submarines in Cuba. On the other end, improved U.S.-Chinese relations would reduce the United States’ defence requirements by reducing the Chinese challenge to U.S. interests in Asia. Improved relations would also help offset the reduced U.S. presence in Asia and U.S. allies could improve relations with Beijing without undermining the U.S. position vis-a-vis the Soviet Union. Indeed, this was a critical element in the Nixon Doctrine, which called for greater U.S. reliance on regional powers to maintain stability. In addition, U.S.-Chinese strategic cooperation might caution the Soviets from assuming defence burdens elsewhere in the world and finally, although Beijing no longer monopolized the foreign contribution to North Vietnam’s war effort, U.S.-Chinese rapprochement would call into question China’s commitment to Vietnam, thus pressuring Hanoi to be more accommodating.
To shake U.S. policy, improvement in Sino-Soviet relations would have had to be more sudden and less conditional with an overnight reversal in the manner of Kissinger’s own first trip to China in 1971. Such a bold stroke was clearly more than the enfeebled Soviet leadership of the early 1980s was prepared for, and even as revitalized by Gorbachev, Soviet policy remained extremely deliberate. An early diplomatic breakthrough in relations with China would have been seen as a brilliant success for Aleksandr Yakovlev’s strategy of exploiting latent weaknesses in the United States’ alliance relationships. Instead, a marked improvement in Sino-Soviet ties occurred only when the broad lines of Gorbachev’s policy had already been clarified and by then, it was clear that the Soviet Union had no serious prospect of reshaping the global power balance at the United States’ expense. The Reagan administration’s record suggests that triangular diplomacy had its greatest significance when U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union was equivocal, and especially when the overall balance of power was poor or deteriorating.
The End of the Cold War
The collapse of the Soviet Union’s East European bloc was the single event that, more than any other redefined East-West relations at the end of the 1980s. After almost a year of struggle by the Bush administration to resolve its view of non-alignment, Soviet acceptance of the revolutions of 1989 converted the new U.S. president from a Gorbachev sceptic into a booster. Triangular diplomacy, of course, had all but disappeared even before this last act of the cold war and in May 1989 that is, before the Berlin Wall came down, before Communist leaders began to be driven from power in one country after another, and before Soviet disunion and the emergence of the separate republics in 1991 Gorbachev’s visit to China sealed the normalization of Sino-Soviet relations (Larson, 1997, p. 122). The event aroused almost no concern in Washington and was not considered a sign of realignment, but only of the Soviet Union’s determination to be on good terms with everyone.
Alignment vs. non-alignment, which marked the culmination of a trend already visible during the Reagan administration, was a final separation of U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union from U.S. policy toward China. The two now interacted with each other, if at all, only as analogies and the Tiananmen crackdown, for example, was seen by some as a warning that Gorbachev’s reforms could meet the same fate. Outbursts of violence in the Soviet Union during the summer of 1989 that is, immediately after the Tiananmen incident gave the comparison a surface plausibility, and the use of force against independence movements in Lithuania and Latvia in early 1991 strengthened it further. Comparisons between internal conditions in China and those in the Soviet Union also surfaced from time to time in debate over the Bush administration’s annual decisions to continue most-favoured-nation tariff status for China.
These were rhetorical connections with almost no political link between the two cases, least of all between U.S. handling of China and the Soviet Union and their relations with each other. The retreat of Soviet foreign policy and its responsiveness to U.S. desiderata made it unnecessary to seek further leverage from remaining Soviet fears of China (Ross, 1993, p. 143). The sea change in the global power balance was such that small fluctuations in relations between Moscow and Beijing carried little meaning for U.S. interests and even when Soviet and Chinese conservatives began to express their affinity for each other, the prospect of future cooperation between them had no discernible impact on the Bush administration’s dealings with either country.
That U.S.-Chinese and Sino-Soviet relations offered no bargaining leverage for U.S. diplomacy was not, of course, a new development. As the policies of five separate administrations since 1970 have made clear, manipulation of the strategic triangle has almost never had much effect on negotiations with the Soviet Union. In particular, this record offers little support for the claim that Moscow was manoeuvred by Nixon and Kissinger’s triangular diplomacy into putting pressure on North Vietnam. Nor did the Carter administration’s closer alignment with China do much to constrain Soviet policy in the third world.
While it was not the bargaining tool that many have claimed, Sino-Soviet rivalry nevertheless had a very large impact on East-West relations between 1970 and 1990. These two decades began with a string of successes for Soviet foreign policy and closed with its near-total failure and as the period opened, Soviet successes made U.S. rapprochement with China seem especially valuable. For the Nixon administration, it was in fact the only clearly positive trend in an otherwise deteriorating global power balance. Subsequent administrations also treated their ties to Beijing as a great asset, but they began to have to deal with the consequences of Soviet strategy toward China as well (Smith, 1987, p. 45). As Moscow’s military build up in the Far East continued, it began to involve the deployment of systems that affected U.S. strategic calculations. Soviet activism in the third world, which bore a clear anti-China edge in both southern Africa and Indochina, also became a growing worry for U.S. policy.
The Ford administration was the first to feel this negative impact of Sino Soviet hostility but since it was only in the Carter years that the question of how to respond was fully formulated, it proved one of the most divisive issues in an already divided administration. The alignment or non-alignment remained unable to answer the question that should the U.S. have remained even handed in its treatment of the two Communist rivals, or should it have favoured the weaker party, China? Advocates of the latter approach prevailed, and their concern with the state of the global power balance was even more strongly felt by the new Reagan administration. U.S. policy now took for granted the view that threats to China had an inescapable bearing on U.S. security as well (Ewing, 2001).
In the 1970s and most of the 1980s, Soviet strategy was marked by a determination to be at least equal to the broadest possible coalition of other powers. It is hardly surprising that this strategy eventually brought such a coalition into being. Soviet conduct revived an atmosphere of East-West confrontation and transformed the U.S. rapprochement with China, which might under other circumstances have been left undeveloped, into an alliance in all but name.
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