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Isn’t It The Time for A New 'Non-Alignment'?

Isn’t It The Time for A New 'Non-Alignment'?

Friday, 8 May, 2020 - 09:00
Amr Moussa
Amr Moussa is a former Arab League Secretary General and former Foreign Minister of Egypt

The relentless talk about the coronavirus pandemic has evolved to include, in a vital part of it, the birth of the virus and the party behind it.

It seems that this topic will be at the forefront of the discussion of the post-coronavirus period, and will open the way for legal, scientific, media, and political gossip. Accusations will be exchanged over its repercussions and costs.

Three directions have emerged so far. The first is led by the US administration and accuses China of many uncontrolled research and scientific practices that released the virus from its cage.

The second points to microbial research in the medical or military field. Here the accusation targets the laboratories of major countries and their secret research centers.

As for the third direction, it implicitly blames the US administration for the outbreak of the virus, as many experts have talked about the link between climate change (which the current administration denies the existence of) and the increasing emergence of epidemics threatening humanity in its stability and prosperity, and perhaps in its existence and continuity.

Such expectations or political analyses pave the way for an intense debate and possibly policies and practices that provide fertile ground for a “new Cold War”, the two main parties of which are the United States and China; a war that differs in its structure and origin from the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union, which ended in the late 1980s.

The coming war will stem from the bases of emerging differences with China, along with scientific and technological competition with it.

Many western circles accuse China of stealing ideas and violating intellectual property rights. Existing commercial and industrial disputes and their effects on the whole world, especially in developing countries, add fuel to the fire.

In other words, the new Cold War will not aim to expand control over lands and regions, but rather over strong economic markets.

However, this will not reduce the importance of strategic competition between the two sides. The strong American strategic presence in Asia, especially in its East, West, and Waters, will aggravate backbiting between Washington and Beijing, along with military preparations such as the deployment of bases and forces, arms trade, and advanced military inventions.

To this may be added the significance of the Chinese Road and Belt project, which has consolidated the Chinese expansion in Africa and Asia, its penetration of Europe, including some Western European countries, and the preparation for expansion towards Latin America. The US, though angered with such expansion – has not put forward - until now - a competing project.

There is no doubt that the bitterness in the relations between the two big powers and their waning areas of cooperation, in addition to the relocation of a large number of industries around the world outside China, all portend a grave escalation.

China has been showing a greater interest in controversial files in the regions that fall under US political influence and in areas of economic, scientific, and technological power.

The importance of China has risen to a level that poses real concerns for the entire West… A strong competitor has emerged, able to form another aggressive reference in various fields of life, on top of which are germs, serums, epidemics, medications, as well as treatments.

The influence of the West globally began to decline a while ago. Then, the foreign policy stance of “America First” came to cause great turmoil in the ranks of the Western alliance itself.

The upcoming Cold War will take all of this into consideration, in addition to the fact that it will be a competition between two great countries and not between two blocs. This does not negate the fact that each side will have its friends or followers, but without constituting a coherent bloc.

In any case, the effects of this cold war will hit the very heart of the clash, i.e. the economy with its various elements, technology in all its manifestations, and markets and prices of commodities.

All of this will certainly affect the course of development and progress, at the global level, and will severely hit the foundations of development in developing countries.

This makes me highlight the importance that this large group of “developing” countries be on a full collective vigilance of what is to come. They must be aware that a new cold war would threaten their stability, opportunities for development, and hopes for prosperity.

This collective awareness, which must be organized in the face of upcoming international developments, remind us of the “Non-Aligned Movement” that successfully called for a general international position based on neutrality towards the two Eastern and Western blocs, but without serious attempts to bridge the gap, but rather to exploit it.

Here I propose to think about the role of the Group of 77, the coalition of developing countries, which has accompanied the “Non-Aligned Movement” and continued after it, even without making significant achievements.

I suggest to think of a new role for this group. At the top of its agenda is developing a multilateral system that redefines threats to international peace and security, to include climate change and transcontinental epidemics, in addition to reviewing the responsibilities of specialized agencies, especially the World Health Organization (WHO).

The group will also work actively to prevent the dispute between the two major countries from developing into a clash that threatens international peace and stability.

Also, it will seek to review the role of the Security Council and some of the articles of the United Nations Charter, including its introduction, goals, and subjects related to international security and development, in addition to the performance of the international economic system and its institutions.

To conclude, I would like to present two observations:

The first one pertains to the political bloc that I propose to be a revived form of the Group of 77, and which will bring all developing countries together in their next historic mission as a mediating power between the two great countries. However, the logic of the upcoming rivalry (between two countries and not two blocs) makes me suggest that the Group of 77 coordinate its actions and movement with European countries and Russia, so that all of them work together to rebuild and rationalize the multilateral system, and at the same time prevent the deterioration of the competition between America and China to a dangerous clash.

Second, the group, which will include major developed and developing countries and the largest number of states in the world, should work on reviewing the United Nations Charter, to enable it to address emerging challenges without being obstructed by the veto right, as well as updating the Bretton Woods Agreement.

All this must be based on the goal to achieve the general interests of all, and should not be targeted against a particular side or aligned with another.

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