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Basic elements of NON-ALIGNMENT
Its role and relevance in International Politics
Ans. George Schwarzcnberger refers to a number of terms that are often taken as synonymous with the’ non-alignment. These are; isolations, noncommitment, neutrality, neutralization, unilateralism, and non-involvement. Each of these has different meanings.
1. Isolationism-Politics of aloofness.
2. Non-commitment– Politics of detachment for other powers in a multi-corner relationship.
3. Neutrality-The political and legal status of a country at war with respect to the belligerents.
4. Neutralization-It means the political status of. a particular state which it cannot give up under any circumstances. Switzerland is an example of a neutralized state.
5. Unilateralism- Policies of calculated risks such as the destruction of own thermonuclear weapons at one’s own instance
6. Non-involvement-Keeping away îrom the struggle between the different superpower ideologies. According to Schwarzenberger
non-alignment and the abóve mentioned Six concepts do not mean the same thing, and they fundamentally differ.
Western scholars like Hans J. Morgenthau, George Liska, and Lawrence W. Morton, and others have preferred the term “neutralism” to “non-alignment”. As non-alignment is a policy of keeping out of alliances in general and military pacts in particular, it is very close to neutralism. Both seek “non-involvement in the cold war” in particular, and in the actual war in general. Therefore both have been used interchangeably. However, a non-aligned need not be neutral under all circumstances. Under exceptional circumstances, it may participate actively in world affairs. As an attribute of foreign policy non-alignment is subject to
change. If there is a change of government in a non-aligned country the new government has to declare whether it would continue to abandon non-alignment. During the period 1977-80 under the Janata party, this happened in India. This non-alignment is no equivalent to neutralism nor is neutralism the result of international agreement. Its commitment remains permanent. Unless an international agreement is abrogated, it is not affected by a change in government.
Thus while political neutrality means keeping away from a particular issue, non-alignment means the same thing with a difference. it aims at keeping away not only from a particular conflict or issue but from a continuing international situation such as the cold war. It insists on keeping away from military alliances as they constitute an important feature of the cold war.
Reasons for Non-Alignment
Based on the widespread desire for national independence and non-involvement in the conflicts of others, policies of Non-alignment are such as every government would follow in an ideal world of a sovereign state in which there were no power conflicts or threats to independence that called for special defense arrangement or alliances. Circumstances that influence a country or countries to accept non-nationalism, anti-alignment as the basis of their foreign policy are Post-war nationalism, anti-colonialism, and the pressing problems of economic underdevelopment. following factors are responsible for the adoption and development of non-alignment.
1. Sentiment of Nationalism-It was the most important feature of the freedom movements in Asian and African countries. It was a movement to obtain freedom after a long and persistent struggle. In order to preserve their freedom after, the nations were determined to follow a course whereby they may not become tools in the hands of big powers. Hence they preíerred to follow the policy of non-alignment.
2. Anti-Colonial Feeling-Even after they attained freedom, the anticolonial feeling persisted in the countries of Asia and Africa. These powers were afraid that they may be again subjugated by the colonial powers. These were determined to keep off from these colonial powers by avoiding membership of both the blocs and adopting an independent course of action, keeping out of all sorts of alliances.
3. Economic Aid for Development-The countries of Asia and Africa that gained independence underdeveloped. They werè very keen to improve the standard of living of their people and promote the systematic development of their country,
to achieve their objectives at a fast rate. They needed capital and financial assistance from both the blocs. Hence, they thought it proper to keep off from political alliances and pursue a policy of non-alignment.
4. Mutual Sympathy and Cooperation-Since long the colonial powers had fed the afro-Asian nations with the idea that were racially as well as culturally backward. This feeling evoked mutual sympathy among the people of the newly emerged states. of Asia and Africa. Being common victims of economic exploitation and political domination by the European nations they had a sense of affinity which led them to cooperate with each other.
5. Need of Peace-As the newly independent states wanted to live in peace, therefore, they concentrated on their development. They decided to keep off from the military alliance and the two power blocs. From the above discussion, it is clear that non-antithesis of alignment.
1. To Pursuer Independent Policy-After throwing off the slavery theirs while colonies were keen to secure their hard-won independence. Economically, politically and militarily they could not compete favorably with the older and stronger nations. By keeping out of power blocs, they were able to pursue an independent foreign policy.
2. To Avoid Involvement in General War-Newly freed nations Wanted to avoid entangling themselves in the wars so that may be able to concentrate on the economic and material development of their people. They avoided an alliance with the two power blocs so that they may not be unwillingly dragged into war. By non-aligned policies, they could avoid direct involvement in such wars as far as possible.
3. Preservation World peace-Newly freed nations felt that the course of alignment is best designed to prevent war. They felt that alliance and arms race has eventually resulted in war. They were able to mediate between the power blocs through nonalignment as they did in Korea, Indo-china, and Congo. They could supply impartial policemen and observers. They could provide supply impartial policemen and observers. They could provide manpower for U.N. Emergency Force. Thus they play an important role in avoiding war and preserving World peace.
4. To Achieve Economic Development- The newly freed nations were underdeveloped and urgently needed social and economic development. They could not divert their limited resource to armaments and defense at the cost of neglect of the economic development of the country. By and large and non-aligned states preferred to concentrate
on the policy of economic development so that conditions of their people may be better.
5. To Achieve Moral Superiority-Non-alignment is a moral doctrine. While the system of alliances and counter-alliances is a manifestation of “power politics.” Non-aligned nations regard themselves as morally superior even though they are weaker and lac material wealth.. They consider it their proud duty to influence the international scene with moral force rather than by taking recourse to power.
6. To Help u.N. to Function Successfully-The non-aligned nations wish to ensure that UN. functions successfully in fulfilling its objectives of preservation of world peacé and economic development. This could be possible only if UNO were freed from the game of power politics constituting the third force. The non-aligned states could play a useful role in international politics by judging each issue on its merits and finding a viable solution.
7. To Secure Economic and Technical Assistance-By remaining friendly to all the big powers the non-aligned nations could secure economic and technical assistance from both blocs. They could receive help from one bole when threatened or actually attacked by the other power. By the classical tradition of politics generally and international politics in particular every state must protect its interests by all sorts of methods.
1. Vague Politics-James Burton has rightly pointed out that there has been no full treatment of the concept, no analysis. and precise description, on exposition through which others might estimate the significance and future prospects of policies of n0n-alignment.”
2. Abuse of Analytical Precision-There is an understanding of the concept among the majority of the people. Though the term Non-alignments is in common use, no effort has been made by the propounders of the concept to properly analyze it.
3. No Model of International Behaviour-Thc advocates of the non-alignment claim that it is of great significance as a model of international behavior that all countries should follow in the interests of peaceful relations. It is a solution to the grave problems of the nuclear age. However, thè nations, wrongly imagine non-alignment as they deduce that it is a “shiting policy of unrealism expediency of” blackmail and of irresponsibility like not to be permanent and to be even a danger to the world peace.”
4. Policy of National Self-interest-Some Western scholars have pointed out that non-alignment is a policy désigned to fulfill the selfish interest characteristic of all foreign policies, but the general expression has not been admitted by the western scholars that non-aligned countries are not self-seekers. However, its concept has developed out of expediency and self-interest like all other concept-laissez. faire, the balance of power, parliamentary government, etc.
5. Confusion with Other Terms-Thus the advocates and proponents of the doctrine are themselves not very clear about its meaning, often the concept of non-alignment is confused with neutralism. As the U.N. of Burma, an advocate of non-alignment once said in a speech, This policy (non-alignment) has called neutralism in the cold war. Perhaps that is the right name for it.
1. Preservation of World peace- International politics is a struggle for power. It gives rise to alliance and counter alliance, armaments race and militarism, etc. As the non-alignment nations try to keep out of this power struggle, the concept is ultimately conducive to world peace.
2. Preservation of Freedom-Once under the political subjection of the great powers, Non-alignment nations had to wage a hard and long struggle to win their political independence, As they do not want to lose their hard-won independence they keep out of world power struggle lest their independence may be jeopardized again.
3. Increase in Economic Aid for development- Non-alignment nations could win the favor of both blocs and receive economic assistance from both for their development. For example, as a non-alignment country India received aid from the Soviet Union as well as U.S.A. she secured more aid only from both sources in comparison to Pakistan which received aid from the Western bloc countries alone.
4. Check on the Ambitions of Big Powers-The superpowers, U.S.S.R., U.S.A., and China have embarked upon ambitious policies of economic domination of the world. Non-aligned nations have thwarted The imperialistic ambitions of the superpowers by keeping aloof. They nave rejected powers’ politics in the field of international relations. To quote Schwarzenberger, Tt signifies a type of relations and states in which certain patterns of behavior are predominant, hegemony, imperialism, alliances. balance of power and war.”
5. Check on Cold War-Group war between superpowers has
somewhat subsided since the emergence of non-alignment. The Afro-Asian countries decided to take independent courses and keep away from the involvement of any kind. of military pacts with either of the big powers which made the continuation of the cold war difficult, it not impossible.
6. Support of U.N. Policies- Non-aligned nations have exercise great influence on the decisions of the U.N. General Assembly; due to their numerical strength. Even though they could not do anything against the use of the veto in the Security Council, no majority decision could be taken without their support. As they are peace-loving there can be no cases where the obligations of the United Nations may conflict with the obligations of impartiality. Thus they have has helped U.N.O. to carry on its peace-keeping function effectively.
7. Freedom of Judgement-Non-alignment envisages freedom of judgment. If judges various events and problems on merits rather than on preconceived ideological nations and other affinities.
8. Disarmament- Non-alignment supports all activities aiming at the relaxation of international tension. It encourages all institutions to work for the peaceful resolution of conflicts. Non-alignment policies support disarmament and faith in the U.N.O. as they support the independence of foreign policy.
9. Importance of Non-Alignment- According to J.W. Burton there are four reasons for the importance of the non-alignment.
(i) Non-alignment is a special feature of the current world system.
(ii) Non-alignment reflects some of the features of a developing world community;
(iii) Non-alignment has inherent within it certain features which are developing amongst aligned states;
(iv) Non-alıgnment offers an alternative game and set of rules. which. is likely to be important once nuclear deterrence is no longer credible.
Thus despite Some glaring defeats and imperfections non-alignment has a strong positive aspect and offers a model to the world. It is expected to lead to an ideal world society. It has acceptance by nations of almost all continents, races, and colors in the East as well as the West, due to its dynamism and desirability.
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