Nations who refused to closely associate themselves with either the Soviets or the US were known as
neutral or nonaligned.
The very concept of nonalignment was a problem for US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. At the same time, he acknowledged the vitality of nationalism in the Third World. He also understood the moral as well as the strategic arguments for assisting the new nations whether they were members of our anti-Communist alliance system or not.
The issue of foreign aid was central. Third World leaders were masters at playing the two camps off against each other. They operated according to strategic calculations of how to maximize their own national interest.
Less aligned nations weren’t making any kind of judgment as to the rightness of the two superpowers. Julius Nyerere, leader of Tanzania (then Tanganyika) summed things up saying:
Our desire is to be friendly to every country in the world, but we have no desire to have a friendly country choosing our enemies for us.
people are more interested in development than in doctrine. They are more interested in achieving a decent standard of living than following the standards of either East or West.
In actuality, the Cold War overlay inevitably imposed itself. When the Cold War ended, Third World countries found they had lost much of their leverage over the West.
The collapse of the Soviets left most of the Third World alone with the West and with the necessity of redefining their relationship with the technically advanced societies.