What is the role of the Non-Alignment Movement after the millennium?

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The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) began during the Cold War, at the 1955 Asia-Africa Conference in Bandung, Indonesia.  Originally a group of 29 nations, largely former colonies, their platform was to be an alternative (and hopefully more centrist) voice to the power blocs of the Western democracies and the Communist states.  Now comprising 118 countries, NAM is in the process of redefining itself in the post-Cold War world.

In a May 26, 2009 Jakarta Post article, a University of Indonesia professor of international relations is quoted as saying,

"I don't see the relevance in defining ourselves in terms of the positions of alignment we took during the Cold War, considering now it is over. Meanwhile, it's too soon to talk about the contest of influence between the United States and China... as both need each other amid the current economic crisis. China is the biggest holder of US bonds and China needs US markets."

This quote neatly defines the problem.  NAM consists of countries in Asia, Africa, Carribean and Latin America, most of which have little in common economically or politically.  The only European member is Belarus.  It is felt by some experts that the organization could be more relevant in addressing economuc concerns, particularly as an alternative to such groups as G8.  The current chairman nation is Egypt, which will host this year's NAM Summit in mid-July. There are indications that the group will attempt to hammer out their new position, quite different from their stance during the Cold War, this year. The first link below is to NAM's official web site.

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