Courtesy Reuters

Nonalignment and the Great Powers

Nonalignment emerged and developed in the years of the dominant bipolar pattern of great-power relations. It was a product of the rising tensions of the cold war and a reaction against the alignments formed at the end of the Second World War, when the split between East and West converted allies into rivals and then into enemies. It was the result of the desire to stay out of the developing conflict and have no part in the new alliances which later formalized the postwar division of the world. This desire was prompted not only by lack of affinity for the causes of the split, but also by the determination to preserve as much freedom of behavior in international relations as possible.

This attitude (which came to be termed nonalignment much later) reflected aspirations toward the greatest possible measure of independence, not only in international relations but even more in internal developments. From the very beginning the postwar period was characterized everywhere by an intense urge toward accelerated economic development. This craving was particularly strong in countries which, when they reëmerged on the world scene as independent nations, had found themselves far behind those which were more industrially developed.

Unlike the first years of the past decade, the later sixties was a period in which coöperation among the nonaligned was at a low ebb even in matters connected with their own economic problems. In 1967 and 1968 a revival took place in connection with the second United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in New Delhi. Efforts were made, too, to plan for a third conference of the nonaligned as a sequel to the Bandung meeting in 1955 and the Cairo gathering in 1964.

Throughout the sixties the pattern of international relations changed profoundly. Its most significant aspects were the substantial lessening of tensions between the two superpowers and a loosening of ties within the two alliances. Though antagonism and rivalry between the two major powers remained, in practical matters they developed a

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