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Updated: Apr 19, 2012
The Nuclear Politics of the Non-Aligned Movement: Principles versus Pragmatism
A book by William C. Potter and Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova.
The Non-Aligned Movement is the largest grouping of states engaged on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation issues, comprising more than two-thirds of the membership of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Yet, the movement is often misunderstood by Western scholars and policymakers, who typically fail to appreciate the diversity of views among its 120 members and 17 observer states.
This Adelphi explores the structures and politics within NAM, and stresses the potential for greater engagement between NAM members and the West in mitigating many of the most pressing nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation and terrorism challenges. Its thorough examination of how NAM business is conducted, along with an analysis of how prominent members or groups of members have sought to dominate it for their own purposes, offers invaluable insight ahead of the 2015 NPT Review Conference and as NAM approaches a possible watershed moment in the movement's history: the assumption by Iran of the chairmanship in mid-2012.
"A unique and an exceptional source of accurate information and in-depth analysis of NAM's 50-year struggle for a world free of nuclear weapons. It should guide us in approaching the convening of the 2012 Conference on the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, as well as during the NPT Review Conference of 2015 and its preparatory phase beginning in the spring of 2012."
"It is surprising that NAM has received so little attention from Western scholars. Filling the gap is this book on NAM's nuclear politics. Based on scholarly research and enriched by direct personal experience in NPT conferences, it reveals a depth of understanding rare in Western research. It should receive the careful attention of policymakers and commentators on the influential coalition of nations that comprise NAM."
"An indispensable guide to the labyrinthine politics of the NAM as it struggles to reconcile traditional collective positions with ever more diverse national interests. It makes a compelling plea for a better informed and more sophisticated understanding of what makes the movement tick, and why - notwithstanding the apparent anachronism of 'non-alignment' in the post-Cold War world - NAM will continue to matter in multilateral nuclear forums."
"The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a significant, but mysterious, player in the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) regime. Potter and Mukhatzhanova pull away the veil of secrecy behind which NAM diplomats have developed their negotiating positions, issued their demands, and made their final compromises at NPT meetings. This short book is an important contribution to our understanding of the intricate politics of nuclear diplomacy."
"William Potter and Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova provide an extensive, nuanced, and illuminating analysis of a significant actor in the NPT context. They explore the complex dynamics within the non-aligned movement and the often influential role that it plays in key institutions of the NPT regime. This book is a must-read for anyone with a serious interest in nuclear nonproliferation. It is a unique and impressive contribution to the literature."
"The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is one of the largest and oldest political groupings. Standing apart from the big military powers it has a tradition of support for disarmament. Where it succeeds in maintaining cohesion despite its diverse membership it weighs heavily in the decision making process — not least by its large membership (120 states). This excellent study is based on personal experience, interviews and documents, and gives us a much needed knowledge of the workings and records of the group."
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