The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of nations agreeing to neutrality. The movement began after world war 2 in response to growing tensions between the USSR and the US. The movement was initiated by president Tito of Yugoslavia, and was aimed at third world or developing nations, in order to give developing nations a say in global security. Currently the Non-aligned movement has 118 members, and over 1/2 of the worlds population. As well, the non-aligned movement is expanding to include more developed and wealthy nations. The NAM is currently the largest grouping of nations outside of the UN, and commits itself to many of the United Nations policies as well. The goals of the NAM are to abolish colonialsim, promote liberation and delf determination (assisting nations struglling to acheive these goals), promote the search for global stability within peaceful world.

The first ideas for the Non-aligned movement emerged in Indonesia at the 1955 Bandung Conference in which Asian and African nations met to find common ground, and pave the way for cooperation in the future. Originally, China had proposed a strictly Afro-Asian pact, which would include China but revoke membership from both Russia and, incidentally, Yugoslavia, however, this alternative did not pass when the Bandung conference went ahead as planned. During the conference it was also decided that all involved nations would pledge neutrality within the cold war, and side with neither east or west. This lead to a conference held in September of 1961 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, to hold an international agreement to be non-aligned within the cold war, and to never for that matter choose sides within a major world conflict. The non-aligned movement was also a proclaimation of anti-colonialism, as many of the founding nations were new countries that had gained indepencdance from the imperial powers after World War 2. The founding fathers of the non-aligned movement were:
  • Jawaharlal Nehru, prime minister of India
  • Kwame Nkrumah, prime minister of Ghana
  • Gamal Abdel Nasser, president of Egypt
  • Achmed Sukarno, president of Indonesia
  • Tito, president of Yugoslavia

Their initiative in creating the Non-aligned movement was known as The Initialive of five. Tito had always had negative relationships with Stalin during World War 2 and the begining of the cold war up until Kruschev.

To further develop the non-alignment movement the movement's organizers created a set of five principles. The purpose of these principles was to allow any country, who's goals and values were cohesive with the movement, to participate in the first official summit in Belgrade. Also, these principles became the criteria that was used to admit membership to the non-aligned movement. Below are the five:
  1. The country should have adopted an independent policy based on the coexistence of States with different political and social systems and on non-alignment or should be showing a trend in favour of such a policy.
  2. The country concerned should be consistently supporting the Movements for National Independence.
  3. The country should not be a member of a multilateral military alliance concluded in the context of Great Power conflicts.
  4. If a country has a bilateral military agreement with a Great Power, or is a member of a regional defence pact, the agreement or pact should not be one deliberately concluded in the context of Great Power conflicts.
  5. If it has conceded military bases to a Foreign Power the concession should not have been made in the context of Great Power conflicts.

At each successive conference or summit, countries who met these requirements were allowed to participate. Although the cold war has ended, these conferences continue today. Below is a list of the conferences up until 1995.
  • First Conference - Belgrade, September 1-6, 1961
  • Second Conference - Cairo, October 5-10, 1964
  • Third Conference - Lusaka, September 8-10, 1970
  • Fourth Conference - Algiers, September 5-9, 1973
  • Fifth Conference - Colombo, August 16-19, 1976
  • Sixth Conference - Havana, September 3-9, 1979
  • Seventh Conference - New Delhi, march 7-12, 1983
  • Eighth Conference - Harare, September 1-6, 1986
  • Ninth Conference - Belgrade, September 4-7, 1989
  • Tenth Conference - Jakarta, September 1-7, 1992
  • Eleventh Conference - Cartagena de Indias, October 18-20, 1995

Now, there are over 115 participating states, which are found primarily in Africa and Asia.
Brunei Darussalam
Burkina Faso
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Congo, DPR of
Cote d'Ivoire
Dominican Republic
Equatorial Guinea

Iran, Islamic Rep of
Korea, DPR of
Lao People's DR
Libyan Arab Jamahirya
Papua New Guinea
Saint Lucia
Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia
Sierra Leone
South Africa
Sri Lanka
Syrian Arab Republic
Tanzania, United Rep of
Trinidad and Tobago
United Arab Emirates
Viet Nam
Zimbabwe (non-alignment movement's website)

Did the Non-Aligment movement suceed in reducing the spread of Soviet and American spheres of influence in the Third World?

Non-Alignment in India

Originally, India was a foremost leader in bringing the Non-Alignment movement to Third World countries. In his speech at the Bandung conference, President Nehru claimed that both American and Soviet policies were based upon “wrong principles” and that to side with either superpower was to submit to degradation and humiliation. Nehru preached that the Non-Alignment movement would allow Third World countries to move away from colonialism, and maintain their sovereign status.

For a time, India was able to remain a non-aligned and neutral power. However, due to political instability in the region, it became increasingly difficult for the Indian nation to remain neutral between the American and Soviet superpowers. As a result of differing political and religious ideals, tensions between India and its northern neighbour, Pakistan ran high throughout the Cold War. While India declared itself a non-aligned nation, Pakistan was openly Pro-West. In 1954, the USA agreed to provide Pakistan with arms (Mutual Defence Assistance Agreement), and Pakistan joined the US military alliances of SEATO and CENTO. In order to counter Pakistan’s friendship with the Americans, India was forced to seek Soviet aid, especially at the outbreak of the Indo-Pakistan War.

However, due to the communist ties between China and the USSR, friendship between the Soviets and Indians was difficult to foster. China was India’s enemy, and they had been involved in a variety of military border disputes. The Soviets could not reach out to the Indians without infuriating their Chinese brothers. However, when China began to criticize Soviet-style communism and the Sino-Soviet split began, the Soviets were free to reach out to the Indian nation.

In 1971, the Indo-Pakistan war broke out. During the war, the USA openly sided with Pakistan. Not only did the American government had sent the USS Enterprise into the India Ocean, which the Indians saw as an act of aggression against their nation, but they provided Pakistan with military supplies.(However, although India saw the USA as aligning with Pakistan, Pakistan did not believe the USA provided any concrete aid or support). As India needed a strong super-power ally to fight an American-Pakistani alignment, they signed the “Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Co-operation” with the Soviets. The treaty allowed for strategic co-operation between the two nations. As well, Nikita Khrushchev backed India sovereignty in the disputed Kashmir region.

After the Indo-Pakistani War ended and India emerged victorious, it was almost impossible for India to return to its non-aligned status. In 1974, India was once again forced to side with the Soviet superpower, as they launched their first nuclear test explosion, known as “Little Buddha”. The test was soon followed by a similar launch in Pakistan, and both countries became privy to nuclear technology. Various sources dispute where the Indians received nuclear technology from, however it is known that the Soviets lent some extent of expertise and technology to India. Thus, the in order to create a credible nuclear deterrent and keep up worth current technology, India was forced to continue their friendship with the Soviets. India even allowed Soviet influence in their economy, as Prime Minister Gandhi moved towards a central planning. In 1984, India received technical aid from the Soviet in terms of oil production. Due to strong American ties with Pakistan and American anti-socialist feelings Indo-American relations were almost negligible.

Thus, it can be seen that the Non-Alignment movement was not successful in keeping the superpower spheres of influence at bay. Once the Americans allied themselves with Pakistan, it became almost impossible for India to resist an alliance with the Soviet Union. Thus, the Soviets were able to exert economic and military influence in India, creating an unofficial Third-World union.

Blood, Peter. ed. Pakistan: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1994. Print.
Freedman, Lawrence. The Cold War. London: Cassell & Co., 2001. Print. Halsall, Paul. "Modern History Sourcebook: Prime Minister Nehru: Speech to Bandung ConferencePolitical Committee, 1955." FORDHAM.EDU. N.p., 1 July 1998. Web. 25 Apr. 2010. <>.
Landau, Elaine. The New Nuclear Reality. New York: Twenty First Century Books, 2000. Print.

Non-Alignment in the Former Yugoslavia

Similar to India, Tito felt that Soviet and American policies were based on the wrong principles. Even though Tito used soviet techniques to consolidate and concerntrate the economy and government and had an initial relationship with Stalin a rift developed between the USSR and Yugoslavia. As one of the responses to the creation of NATO, the USSR promoted the creation of Cominform or the Communist Information Bureau, which was located in Belgrade. However, this boost in communist internationalism failed to lessen the tensions that were growing between Stalin and the communists in Yugoslavia. In 1948, Stalin removed his advisers from Yugoslavia claiming that the slavs contaminated the Stalinist dogma. Tito and the slavs refuted these accusations further exclaiming the communists error in promoting their importance in liberating Yugoslavia from the facists (which Stalin did not do). Nevertheless, Tito attempted to regain favor with Stalin by adopting his collectivization policies, which had a negative effect on Yugoslavia's economic output. Feeling that Tito was failing to truly promote the ideals of Stalinism, the soviet bloc created a economic blockade against Yugoslavia. Soviet troops also were lined along the borders causing incidents with the locals and the soviet troops. As a result, Tito and Yugoslavia were isolated in 1949 from the communist bloc and was in desperate need of financial aid. The west (americans) were eager to help in giving Yugoslavia a 20 million aid package in 1949 and continuing a non repayable aid package of over 2 billion dollars. These hooks, however, failed to coerce Yugoslavia in joining NATO, as it was presummed that this was the American's ulimate goal.

In 1955, Khrushchez attempted to fix this rift after Stalin had died in 1953. Nevertheless, he ultimately failed when the soviets crushed the Hungarian Revolution, for Yugoslavia was promoting independence within the block, and Khrushchez's initial acceptance of these ideals bridged the gap until this Hungarian mishap. In 1961, the Soviets and Tito entered into a time of detente, which allowed for Tito to begin preparations for the non-alignment movement and the first official conference in Belgrade Yugoslavia, 1961, where Tito himself chaired the meeting.

Following the Belgrade conference, Tito started to integrate Yugoslavia's economy to include socialist and capitialist aspects. Resulting from this, market socialism development, not as a result of American or soviet influnces, but what Tito saw as the change needed to better the country. Yet, these reforms caused massive economic downturns. Stagnation, income disparity, and high unemployment caused people to lose faith in Tito's govenrment. Tito however, continued to hold power through this time of disparity.

1968, marked another rift between Yugoslavia and the Soviets as the Warsaw Pact members invaded Czechslovakia to deter Dubcek's "socialism with a face" policy, which Tito promoted. Consequently, Tito saw this as a intrusion and declared that Yugoslavia would resist any soviet invasion.

From this point on, Yugoslavia experienced a multitude of internal ethnic problems. However, these issues were not influenced by the Americans or Soviets, but a result of conflicting identities and nationalisms. Consequently, non-alignment did to a certain extent isolate Yugoslavia from the cold war in preventing either side from using it as a sphere of influence. Nevertheless, Tito did accept aid form the American's during the instituting of the non-alignment movement, which would suggest that Tito was slightly hypocritical, as he clearly took a side. Though, Tito did discontinue aid after the non-alignment movement was formally insituted. He also carefully protected his country's soverignty by rejecting Soviet advances (as in the case of the Czechslovia incident), while avoiding the latter, such as the enticements given by the United States to convince Yugoslavia to join NATO.

Therefore, to an extent Non-alignment was successful in deterring the cold war and proxy wars in Yugoslavia. There were instances of choosing sides, but after the movement's official commencement, Tito ensured that he only rejected a side and did not join the other, but stayed inpartial to both.
Bennett, Christopher. Yugoslavia's Bloody Collapse: Causes, Course and Consequences. London: NYU Press, 1997. Print.

Non-Alignment in Egypt

One of the original five at the Bandung Conference, Egypt's participation in the non-aligned movement displayed their willingness to remain diplomatic, although Egypt has been almost perpetually polarized. A country in the third world, just trying to get on its feet after becoming independent, was not able to choose sides distinctively in the bi-lateral conflict. However, it is easy to see how over the years, Egypt essentially aligned anyways.

During the Cold War, both India and Egypt were advocating a certain level of socialism as means for the leaders to give up being a colony and take on more political and economic control. While the choice to follow a more socialist doctrine outright rejects the influence of the liberal United States, it also exhibits a blatant disagreement with the violence and strict ideals of communism. Because of this disagreement with the ideals of both of the Great Powers, coupled with a need to further their own self interest as an emerging independent nation, Egypt chose to remain non-aligned in the Cold War. However, in furthering their own self interest, we can see that this alignment occurred anyways in response to the political and economic needs of the country, and which of the two Powers agreed to comply with these needs.

In 1914, Egypt acquired some political freedom in becoming a protectorate of Britain as opposed to a colony. By 1922, Egypt gained complete independence from Britain, although the British government retained ownership of the Suez Canal, seeing that it would not be prudent to give up one of their largest investments and an integral form of transportation in Africa. Britain continued to have a military presence in Egypt to protect the Canal. When Gamal Abdel Nasser came into power in 1952, he began lobbying around the world for funds to build the Aswan High Dam on the Suez. Originally meant to be a joint project with the United States and Great Britain, Egypt was also looking to collect on funds from the East, for convenience as well as to appear diplomatic.

In addition, in 1955, the Baghdad Pact was created, an alliance of the northern Middle Eastern states (Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan) with Britain. This pact was directed at the Soviet Union, showing the involvement of the West in the Middle East. Egypt was in a heightened state of discontent over this pact since it effectively meant that Iraq was betraying the Arabs to align with the Imperialists. The first point of contact between Egypt and the Soviet Union was established here. Seeing Egypt's discontent, Khrushchev made the small diplomatic move of agreeing to a large purchase of Egyptian cotton. This forged Egyptian-Soviet relations.

Meanwhile, Israel had formed as a state in 1948, and was growing in military strength and support from large nations like Britain, France, and the United States. The US, at the time, was also funding large amounts of military power in Iraq. Egypt saw these two countries as a threat, and looked for help in acquiring weaponry from the Soviet Union and other communist states in 1955. However, when an arms deal was signed with Czechoslovakia, the US revoked their funding for the Aswan Dam on July 26, 1956, effectively beginning the Suez Crisis. After funding was revoked by the US, Britain followed suit, prompting Nasser to nationalize the Suez Canal, both negating British control and stopping all trades to Israel, Egypt's largest threat. This caused Israel, Britain, and France to attempt to invade in November of that year. The Soviet Union came to the aid of Egypt, making contact with the three invading countries to inform them that the Soviet Union would keep the peace in the Middle East, by force if necessary. This invasion stemmed the creation of an Emergency Task Force in the United Nations which stopped the conflict. However, by this point, Egypt saw that the Soviet Union was their natural ally and the only Power who was not a threat to their sovereignty.

The Soviet Union offered continued support to Egypt in many subsequent conflicts, most notably the Six Days War in 1967. Nasser ruled Egypt as a pan-Arabist, hoping to unite all the Arab countries under his leadership. However, there were two main objections to this vision. Small conflicts with Jordan and Saudi Arabia not only harmed US-Egyptian relations (US was supporting these countries), but also harmed Nasser's reputation in the Arabian states. Israel was the second objection, since the UN Emergency Task Force was still functioning there from the previous Egypt-Israeli conflict. When Egypt decided to remove the UN out of the area and attack Israel for six days, in conjunction with other Arab nations like Serbia, the Soviet Union provided continued backing to these countries. Over the six days, there were numerous air and land attacks totaling in approximately 18000 casualties. However, this created a strong bond between Egypt and the Soviet Union.

From these two conflicts, it is easy to see that while Egypt was a founding member of, remains a member of, and advocates for the Non-Aligned Movement, they were still strongly polarized with the Soviet Union out of convenience and need for resources. It becomes clear that while non-alignment was a good idea in theory, many of the countries still ended up aligning with one of the Powers due to the need for a strong ally in an increasingly bilateral world.

Robertson, Charles L..International Politics Since World War II: A Short History. New York, NY: Wiley, 1975. Print.
Global Security - Cold War
Global Security - Suez Crisis
Egypt’s Alliance Swap: Cognitive Dissonance Theory Applied By Dave Feinman
Jewish Virtual Library - Nasser Nationalizes the Suez

Non-Aligned Movement - A Socio-Political Perspective
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
The Origin of Non-Alignment by Shibata Junji
The Six Day War
Jewish Virtual Library - The Six Day War