Non-Aligned in Belgrade, a fair of pragmatists

If the copyright to the Non-Aligned Movement could be sold, and especially the right to use its “birthplace”, many “rude” offers would surely arrive in Belgrade. And mostly from rich cities, from the West or the East, a world that never intended to join the non-aligned, nor does it intend to do so now. Non-Aligned are simply a good brand in the international political and economic market, and that brand costs a lot, especially when you own its first edition.

Of course, there can be no buying and selling here, but the Non-Aligned Movement and its 60th anniversary in Belgrade deserve to be looked at through glasses that do not blur the vision with emotions, warm historical reminders and meaningless efforts to compare the world and us from 60 years ago with us and the world today.Belgrade is the owner of the title deed to the Non-Aligned Movement and that ownership is recognized by 120 states, members of the Movement. Only an immature and historically illiterate state, led by ignorant people, could ignore such a political “golden hen”. Fortunately, that is not the case with Serbia, which has gathered a huge political capital in the two days of marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Non-Aligned Movement, which is why many can only envy it.

At the beginning of the week, the largest world political fair this year was held in Belgrade, it was heavily visited, maximally used by us, and its effects will be able to be reaped for a long time. The guests returned home full of impressions and, what is even more important, or the only important thing, with the conviction that Serbia is a country with which it is worth cooperating. Politically, commercially, in education, in sports, science, in anything.No one who came to Belgrade from the “wide world” was deceived here, because no one came to do anything other than exchange political, economic and security “goods”, using the great opportunity to do so at the “fair” where there were many that matter to each other. Wasn’t that the main essence of the “real” Non-Aligned Movement, as it was conceived in Belgrade in 1961?

True, it was a great thing to gather at that time around the idea of ​​not belonging to either of the two blocs, of seeking peace and equality in the world, decolonization and equal opportunities. But wasn’t it at the same time a platform for networking (political, economic, military) of all those among whom there were no such connections? Were some of the first non-aligned fighters really non-aligned when they signed the founding document in Belgrade in 1961? Saudi Arabia, for example, one of America’s top allies, or perhaps Cuba, from which the Soviet Union did not have a more loyal partner? It is also true that Tito’s Yugoslavia gained a huge reputation as the leader of the “third world”, but it also knew how to charge for that reputation through lucrative deals with its friends from the club. Why does anyone have the right today to make fun of Serbia for trying to remind 120 countries of where their Movement was founded and to host them as a friend on that occasion? Of the 18 countries that have withdrawn recognition of Kosovo in the last few years, as many as 13 are in the Non-Aligned Movement. We have also heard the nonsense that we hosted the “world’s poor”, and among that “poor” are in fact the world’s richest, Singapore, for example, or Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, or the already mentioned Saudi Arabia. Many strong regional players have been part of that “poor,” Chile, for example, or Azerbaijan, not to mention global influencers, such as India, Indonesia, or South Africa.

The malice in the bazaar is incredible, it exhausted itself looking for flaws in a two-day gathering of Non-Aligned in Belgrade. There was especially despair at the fact that “arch-enemy” Vučić hosted that global party. Of course, if he had not organized the jubilee of the Belgrade Conference, he would also have been crucified. But we will put aside those senseless grunts. Just as the Non-Aligned Movement 60 years ago was, in essence, a supremely pragmatic idea, today that’s the capitalization of its founding rights. And Serbia and its president are doing perfectly. A dove of peace was released from Belgrade in 1961, but at the same time a line was opened to supply weapons to everyone from the club who needs it, to Egypt when it was needed, for example, or to Angola when it was needed, the list is long. The same goes for construction companies, the pharmaceutical industry and agriculture.

Why would it be different today, regardless of the fact that there are no longer two blocs between which are the non-aligned and regardless of the fact that today’s Serbia is smaller and less influential than the former Yugoslavia? The club is still there and its members have the same expectations as they had six decades ago. It’s nice to come to Belgrade and remember the heroic days, but it’s even nicer and more useful to discuss with friends how we can trade, whose initiative to support in the UN, how to send students to Serbia or buy technology from it, even the military, why not. Making an exhibition of modern weapons, as an accompanying event, was the most natural and most effective move of the hosts during the celebration of the jubilee of the Non-Aligned. Anything else guests would consider fake.

Pragmatism in the past, pragmatism today, that was and remains the essence of the Non-Aligned Movement. Serbia has finally shown that it understands that essence and can expect a good political and economic harvest from everything it has prepared this week.