The Interview is translated from German. The German Interview is published on 12.09.2012 in the German Monthly News Magazine ZUERST!
Is The Non-Aligned Movement Relevant? Manuel Ochsenreiter “ZUERST” interviews Christof Lehmann
Dr. Lehmann, the well established German media have largely ignored the NAM-Summit – only the diplomatic rawl between the Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi and the Syrian Delegation was considered worth mentioning. Was that really all that was “newsworthy”?
Lehmann: Newsworthy was for instance the demand that the UN-General Assembly must be re-vitalized, that structural changes at the UN Security Council are being demanded, that the abuse of the Security Council for the apparent justification of crimes against peace must cease. The abuse of the Responsibility to Protect to legitimize military interventions is being sharply critizised. Besides that, I think it is newsworthy, that a reform of the International Criminal Court, which according to NAM member states is being abused for politicized show trials and victors justice is being demanded. All of this is off course far more newsworthy in those countries who are potential victims of these conditions – and the main stream media in those nations who are responsible for the abuse are very seldom covering these problems really critically. When one is speaking in terms of “newsworthiness” one has also to be aware of, that every, and in particular every war-faring government has a propaganda-apparatus that is associated to its military.
Many NAM-members ( i.e. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Azerbaijan, a.o. )are considered close allies to the USA and are working closely together with NATO. Can the movement of the non-aligned nations at all become a counter-weight to the West?
Lehmann: The NAM is no coherent political or military block, comparable to the EU or NATO, but an association of 120 sovereign nations. The NAM has no common foreign- or defense policy, and to establish such policies would not be in the spirit of the non-aligned nations. The NAM can also not become a counter-weight to the West because – as you already mentioned – many countries are closely oriented towards the West and entertain close ties to Washington. Other nations orient themselves towards other associations such as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) or towards the Common Market of South America (MERCOSUR). A counterweight to the western demand for global, full spectrum dominance is most likely being developed within other structural organizations than the NAM.
How do you understand the suggestion of Iran, “to oppose the western media mafia by establishing an alternative media block”? Is that at all possible within the NAM?
Lehmann: One of the prime principles of the NAM is national sovereignty and non-interference into other nations domestic affairs. That principle is also encompassing media policy. The NAM is hardly an appropriate forum for the establishment of a “counter-block”. That however, does not necessarily imply that the NAM has to remain passive with regards to media. It would, for instance, be coherent with the function of the NAM to demand that the illegal blocking of Syrian TV signals and the blocking of Syrian Press agencies web-sites has to cease.
Russia is no NAM-Member, China has merely observer status. Do the NAM member states really have something like a lead nation ?
Lehmann: A central lead nation does not exist within the NAM. It would – as already mentioned – oppose the principles of the non-aligned. Contemporary Russian and Chinese policies are de facto non-aligned policies. Both countries are highly prioritizing the values of national sovereignty in bilateral and multilateral relations. Their policy builds on reciprocity, trade, and opposite to that of the West, on defense. The Russian and Chinese Veto and the protests from Moscow and Beijing against a potential repetition of the disaster of Libya in Syria demonstrate how legitimate non-aligned policy functions. It will most likely motivate more NAM-members to orient themselves more closely towards Russia and China.
The policies of Russia and China are the opposite of the hegemony and neo-colonialist policy of the West. The strategy of Washington is typically based on post-modern coup d´etat in the form of color- or flower- revolutions, and the use of subversion. Russia and China act by far more wisely and legitimately. While NATO demands the privilege of global, full-spectrum dominance for itself, Russia and China offer themselves as partners in the protection of national sovereignty and international law. Germany would also be well advised to re-orientate itself. More sovereignty could surely not harm Berlin either.
Dr. Lehmann, thank you for our our conversation.