Muslims vs. Moscow

This time it was mainly the Soviet Union's turn to feel the censure of lands who do not want to be dominated by either superpower. The United States should welcome the fact that such things can happen -- while remembering that its own turn will come again if it fails to respect the rights and sensibilities of the countries in between.

We are referring in this instance to the Muslim countries represented at the emergency meeting of foreign ministers in Islamabad, Pakistan. But what happened there is instructive in relation to the nonaligned movement and the third world as a whole. A tilt in favor of Moscow does not have the natural inevitability attributed to it by Cuba, the current chair country of the nonaligned. Each superpower has to keep earning whatever credit it receives.

The US did not get off scot-free as the three dozen Muslim ministers passed their resolutions in Islamabad9 For example, they opposed as a body any imposition of economic sanctions (called for but not yet pursued by the US) against Iran, though some were said to have indicated they favored release of the Americans hostages in Tehran.

But it was the Soviet action in Afghanistan that drew outright condemnation as a "flagrant violation of all international convenants and norms, as well as a serious threat to peace and security in the region and throughout the world." The conference demanded "immediate and unconditional withdrawal" of Soviet troops in Afghanistan -- and unexpectedly went on to demand Soviet troop withdrawal from the Horn of Africa, too.

It should be satisfying to all workers for peace and freedom to hear the representatives of close to a fourth of the world's population speak out so forcefully on Soviet outrages against peace and freedom. Moscow ought to listen and learn.

But America and its industrial allies must not lose sight of the larger issues involved in preserving peace and freedom with the effective support of the third world. There must be the aid, trade, and noninterfering cooperation to strengthen nations and reduce disparities. All the other ingredients of stability must be dealt with along with preserving the laws like those Moscow is so conspicuously violating.

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