Wednesday, July 20, 2016


The non aligned movement came into being during the Cold War, as a way for countries to declare their independence from the multinational defense alliances of the Western and Soviet power blocs. It's essentially the same meaning today: independence from a military alliance organized by a  power bloc. What we look at in my class South and Central Asia, INTL 5665,  are the relative strengths of the military alliances formed by the power blocs of the NATO (Western and Central Europe, US) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) (China, Russia, Kazakstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan) . Each engages in military exercises.

 Turkmenistan is not a member of the SCO or NATO.  Turkmenistan in Central Asia  made a formal declaration of 'Permanent Neutrality' in the UN in 1997 refusing to be  part of multi-national defense organizations. It says PM focuses on  peace and human rights. In fact, Turkmenistan's human rights record has been heavily criticized

The latter wants cooperation with its partner countries in Central Asia — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

 Trading with other countries doesn't indicate necessarily a lack of autonomy on the part of Turkmenistan.

This is  how 'permanent neutrality ' is described, at  a press conference given by the President of Turkmenistan in 2010:

"Originally, neutrality was conceived as non-alignment with conflicting parties during wars. However, there later appeared a concept of permanent neutrality. Switzerland was the first country to declare itself permanently neutral, and it has strictly adhered to this status until now. In XX century, Austria, Japan, Laos, Cambodia, Malta and Turkmenistan became permanently neutral states. So, we are certainly not the first to choose neutral status as a major form of interaction with the outside world. At the same time, there is probably no other country that treats neutrality as a defining set of aspirations in all spheres of human activity, as it occurs in Turkmenistan." (Links to an external site.)