Younger readers and even those who are identified (or identify themselves) as baby boomers will not recall the Non-Aligned Movement. Its leaders were Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Fidel Castro of Cuba, Gamal Abdal Nasser of Egypt and Ahmed Ben Bella of Algeria and a whole coterie of other third worlders who were actually aligned with the Soviet Union. What a mess they made of their countries, what an unholy mess! Moreover, it was under their leadership--to which the biens pensants of the West deferred--that international relations turned into a system of moral illusion and economic distortion.
Believe it or not, the NAM, as the Movement was loosely called then, is still alive. Moreover, it has over a hundred member-states. According to the Associated Press, the foreign ministers of these governments are right now meeting in Tehran, where the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, addressed them.
There were few surprises in his speech, in which he cleaved to the early purposes of the assembly: to ensure "the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries" in their "struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, Zionism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against great power and bloc politics." But even cretins have to keep up with the times. So he criticized the pending indictment of the president of Sudan on charges of genocide, suggesting instead that the international court indict Israel's leaders on the same counts. This, however, is really old hat.
And I suppose so is blaming the West and the United States for the AIDS pandemic. Still, that's what the nut case of Tehran, following in the footsteps of President Mbeki of South Africa, whose awful domestic and foreign policies will soon be exacerbated by Jacob Zuma, a real thug, which Mbeki, installed by the Rockefeller Foundation, was not.
These conferences take time and cost money. Like Durban II, they are also deflections from the real troubles of the Third World. The U.S. and the other democratic countries should stop the patronizing policy of indulging states that we help in the poisoned activities of the non-aligned. If they are really "non-aligned," let them be non-aligned alone and without aid at all.