The New Third World

When delegates from 29 African and Asian states met in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1955 to discuss international cooperation in times of the Cold War that had just begun, they chose the term Third World for themselves. This was to emphasise that these states, which, with the inclusion of many other countries, gathered in 1961 in the Non-Aligned Movement, did not want to be drawn to either side of the Cold War.

Could a similar development take place today, given the increasingly confrontational attitude between the USA and China?

To this end, two crucial differences between the “first” Cold War and the new Cold War should first be emphasised. These are, first, the emergence of a common global market involving both the US and China, which should not be easy to undermine. This is a significant difference from the diametrically opposed economic systems of communism and capitalism.

The second major difference, resulting from the first, is the lack of ideological opposition between the two states. At least on the economic level, both countries merely represent different manifestations of capitalism. And since internal security and stability will be the main task for both world powers in the coming decade or two, the similarities might even prevail in this respect.

So what might a new grouping of non-aligned states look like under such preconditions?

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