No cold war, please: How Europeans should engage non-aligned states,

Gwamaka Kifukwe, Policy Fellow

The Non-Aligned Movement is one of the largest international forums in the world. As the European Union finds its geopolitical feet, it should work to treat developing countries as individual states with their own interests and objectives.

Until very recently, non-alignment – and the Non-Aligned Movement – were all but forgotten in the international arena. That was before Uganda’s permanent representative to the United Nations tweeted the explanation for his country abstaining on the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) March resolution regarding Russia’s war on Ukraine: “As incoming chair of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), NEUTRALITY is key. Uganda will continue to play a constructive role in the maintenance of peace and security both regionally and globally.”

The resolution overwhelmingly passed – but the voting pattern of African nations left many European observers of Africa disappointed. Is the Non-Aligned Movement back? And what does it mean for Europe’s handling of the war in Ukraine? […]

For all the present worries about a re-emerging world of hegemons facing off against one other, it is important to note that the Non-Aligned Movement is not organised as a voting bloc at the UNGA. It has neither a formal constitution, nor a secretariat. Within the loose coalition, there is no consensus – as reflected in the votes of Non-Aligned Movement member states at the March vote on Ukraine. Indeed, the vast majority of non-aligned members voted in favour of the resolution. Europe may have been disappointed with that result, but Russia does not have much to celebrate. […}

Nevertheless, European policymakers should take care not to assume that their African counterparts, for example, share their interests, values, and principles. To gather global support for their approach to Ukraine, Europeans should frame the conflict with the principles of national self-determination and territorial integrity. These are terms with which many external partners are more comfortable, and they are likelier to find success than using a morality-based narrative that stakes out Europe and its partners as ‘good’ and Russia (and anyone not condemning it) as ‘bad’. Läs artikel