I’m hoping now that with the chairmanship in the hands of the Republic of Iran that we’ll see a more activist Non-Aligned Movement that starts to flex its muscles and present an alternative to the tired, old colonial powers of the West.”Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has underlined the importance of making use of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)’s potentials to prevent bullying powers from exerting pressure on independent countries. The Leader added that the NAM provides a very good capacity for cooperation among its member states in different fields. Iran assumed the rotating presidency of the NAM for a three-year term during the 16th NAM Summit which wrapped up in Tehran on Friday. NAM is an international organization with 120 member states that is not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. Press TV has conducted an interview with Ken Stone, with the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War, from Toronto, to further discuss the issue. The program also offers the opinions of two additional guests: Shahid Qureshi, a writer and journalist, from London; and William Beeman, a professor at the University of Minnesota, from Minneapolis. The following is a rough transcription of the interview with Stone. Press TV: Professor Beeman just said that these nations don’t particularly realize how much economic power they can have. What’s your take on that? Is it that they don’t realize if they are united, the power that they can be, a force to be reckoned with, or is it the intimidation from some of these other nations not to even really exert their pressure in trying to become that power that it could be? Stone: I’d like to answer that question but first I’d like to say what a breath of fresh air the NAM summit was in Tehran because after over two decades in a unipolar world in which the United States was the sole superpower, the atmosphere was getting rather stale.
I thought it was really refreshing that the NAM meeting was so successful and presented a different agenda to that of the United States and NATO and the ‘one-percent’ in general.Yes, I agree with the previous speaker, I think it was Professor Beeman who said that the Non-Aligned nations have yet to flex their economic and political muscles to the degree that’s potentially there. I’m hoping now that with the chairmanship in the hands of the Islamic Republic of Iran that we’ll see a more activist Non-Aligned Movement that starts to flex its muscles and present an alternative to the tired, old colonial powers of the West. Press TV: Why do you think we haven’t seen up to now that flexing of the muscles by the NAM? Stone: I think that in the context of the bipolar world that used to exist when the former Soviet Union was in existence, I think there was a rivalry between those two superpowers that sort of shunted the Non-Aligned countries to the side where they had to form such an organization such as NAM.
As Pepe Escobar said, now that the powers of the United States and the West are going down, the powers of the countries in South America and Asia are going up, as the previous speakers have said. It’s an opportunity for these Non-Aligned countries to take matters into their own hands and to start putting forward their own agenda against the backdrop of the bullying powers of the United States and NATO.I think everybody in the world recognizes that the balance of power is changing, and the previous speakers referred to that. Now, I think the sun is shining on the Non-Aligned countries. Press TV: If these nations, these NAM nations, start really flexing their muscles a little more, trying to get even more organized, working together and having these alliances, as Professor Beeman just said, what type of reaction can we expect from, let’s say the Security Council nations, the NATO nations? Will they just sit back and allow their sphere of control and influence in these countries to wane or how do you see the reaction? Stone: Well, we saw the reaction in the days before the NAM summit in Tehran when countries like Canada, the United States and Israel went ballistic over the fact that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was planning to attend the NAM summit at all. In Canada, the foreign minister sent a message to Mr. Ban saying that he shouldn’t go. The same was true from Washington and from Tel Aviv. They don’t want the NAM summit to succeed because, as the previous speakers mentioned, they have a system of power that was set up at the end of the Second World War and the Bretton Woods Agreement, by setting up the structure of the United Nations to perpetuate the control of the old colonial powers. They don’t like the idea of reforming the UN. They are strictly opposed to undermining the US dollar as their main currency for reserves in the world and for the exchange of petroleum. But, you know, the people of the world - two-thirds of which are represented by the NAM, 120 countries - they have other interests than those of the bullying powers of the United States and western Europe. If they put their minds to it, they can go ahead and they could demand reforms in the UN and especially in the Security Council. They could potentially, with the economic powers that are being demonstrated by Brazil, India, Iran and other countries, be able to escape the dollar zone. This would be a big economic move that would certainly give them strength, give the NAM strength, and the ability to act independently of the UN, which unfortunately has become a tool in the hands of the ‘one-percent’. The United Nations is the means by which the Western powers invaded Libya, and the way that they justified the occupation of Afghanistan and Yugoslavia. It’s time for change and the people of the world need to make that change now. GMA/HJL