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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/23/16

Non-Aligned to... Nowhere?

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Reprinted from Strategic Culture

Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
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The summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) came and went in Isla Margarita, Venezuela, virtually invisible to Western corporate media.

NAM nowadays congregates every African nation except South Sudan; most of Latin America -- except Brazil, Argentina and Mexico (they are observers); and most of Asia and the Middle East (China is an observer).

So what this formidable collection of globally representative nation-states came up with? Apparently not much -- except a long final document that few will read, calling for traditional NAM themes such as non-interference and pledging global peace and cooperation.

After Iran passed the baton, Venezuela now chairs NAM for the next three years -- which will be rocked by extreme social/politico/economic turbulence (this is a good summary of where we stand). President Nicolas Maduro went no holds barred to denounce a Washington offensive in Latin America and particularly against his administration, bent on regime change via an economic war. His diagnostic is essentially correct.

And that nails the problem if you're non-aligned in the digital, liquid modernity era; geopolitically, and geoeconomically, you're an easy prey to all manner of algorithmic manipulations. Your nation doesn't even have to be brought down to order -- as in the Washington consensus -- via a coup; it's all essentially virtual.

The oil price war -- conducted mostly by Saudi Arabia, and relying on electronic speculation -- has devastated the Venezuelan economy, whose budget, to the extent of 96%, depends on oil exports. Food and medicine scarcity has reached alarming levels -- as much as the inflation rate, arguably the highest on the planet at the moment.

In parallel meetings, Caracas has been desperately striving to find some consensus to freeze global oil production before OPEC's next crucial meeting by the end of the month in Alger. The Venezuelan government has correctly identified that a politicized OPEC, during the Saudi-controlled oil price war, was bent on hitting Iran, Russia and Venezuela. Maduro now proposes that OPEC should stop operating in the free market because there's significant overproduction.

Electronic manipulation rules. Yet politics, of course, still plays a role; in these oil market discussions as well as in the recent Mercosur decision to prevent Venezuela from exercizing the temporary presidency of the South American trade bloc.

So during NAM, Maduro strove to find support among his few remaining allies, such as Rafael Correa from Ecuador, Raul Castro from Cuba, Evo Morales from Bolivia and Hassan Rouhani from Iran. Yet none of these have much of a way of influencing Saudi Arabia's -- and His Masters' Voice's -- game.

It was not only Venezuela. Quite a few nations at the summit predictably accused the Exceptionalists of interference. But it was up to the Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK) to go no (surrealist) holds barred, actually threatening to blow things up with no warning.

Where's the new Sukarno?

Those were the days of Nehru, Sukarno, Nasser and Tito in the early 1960s. Not to mention NAM's seminal event -- the 1955 Bandung Conference hosted by Indonesia's Sukarno. That's when a who's who of the former Third World, now Global South -- including Sukarno, Nasser, Nehru, Tito, Ho Chi Minh, Zhou Enlai, Sihanouk, U Thant and Indira Gandhi -- adopted a declaration on promotion of world peace and cooperation and collectively pledged to remain neutral in the Cold War.

The spirit of Bandung is somewhat alive -- as NAM remains committed against imperialism, colonialism, neocolonialism, racism, foreign aggression/interference, occupation and hegemony. Call it NAM against the Empire. Yet the Empire, post-Shock and Awe, is way more subtle in its interference mechanisms, privileging myriad declinations of Hybrid War -- from color revolutions to economic war to the latest institutional/parliamentary/judiciary/media impeachment/regime change farce in Brazil.

Cold War also persists, now rebranded Cold War 2.0, essentially pitting NATO against Russia, in parallel to the containment of China via the pivot to Asia. Russia and China are the Pentagon's avowed top two threats -- which for all practical purposes should align their own strategic partnership with an extended NAM strategic partnership.

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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)

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