[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Thursday, July 16, 2009

[The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)]
NAM was established during the Cold War for countries that did not want to be tightly allied to the US or the Soviet camp. With the end of the Cold War, NAM's role in global affairs has become fuzzier. For a while, the US was the world's sole superpower and NAM became a platform for a few countries opposing the US to lobby support among over a hundred member countries, especially Cuba, Iran and Venezuela. Singapore has always been a 'moderate' in NAM insisting that radicals did not capture the agenda and claim the support of the entire movement when in fact views were divided.

When Cuba was in the Chair, it subordinated its national interest to that of the entire movement. That was to its credit. Egypt in the Chair is acting likewise. Iran as the next Chair in three years time will have to do the same.

Looking ahead, NAM must redefine its role in a multipolar world. From Singapore's perspective, NAM should always represent the collective interests of the weaker countries in the world. It is inevitable that those more powerful should have more say in writing the rules governing global affairs but the rest of us should not be without influence. A multipolar world is inherently less stable. NAM can help maintain balance and make this a better and a fairer world.

I attended my first NAM Summit in Belgrade in 1989, exactly twenty years ago. Yugoslavia has since broken up. Only two leaders from 1989 attend this year's Summit in Sharm el Sheikh - Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Muammar Gaddhafi of Libya.


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