Superpowers call on small nations to 'choose sides'
United Nations, N.Y.
Western, communist, and third world nations nowadays agree on one thing: They are dissatisfied with the new cold war being waged by the superpowers and with their own growing ''satellization'' by the United States and the Soviet Union as a result.
Many of these nations are emerging as a new, loose coalition of ''like-minded nations.'' Ideologically, they stand miles apart. But they are drawn together by their common belief that their independence is being threatened, one United Nations official says.
Countries in the West, East, and South are expected by Washington and Moscow to avoid being out of step, diplomats here say.
''Never since the days of Stalin have we watched such an extreme polarization of international affairs as now. Yalta only divided Europe. Now the superpowers draw dividing lines around the globe,'' says a diplomat from a Nordic country.
''The Brezhnev doctrine and the Monroe Doctrine (which tend to legitimize Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe and US hegemony in the Americas) are being extended so as to apply to Asia and Africa. As a result, many regional problems which might lend themselves to compromise solutions, are put in a global context and frozen.''
Senior officials from Western and Eastern Europe and from the third world point with concern to recent developments:
* East Germany's Erich Honecker, at Soviet urging, called off a planned trip to Bonn two months ago.
* The US pressured West European countries not to meet in Costa Rica last month with Central American countries and with the Contadora group (Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama). Failing to stop them, the US then encouraged its Central American allies to make strong economic demands on the Europeans.
* Third world countries are being admonished by the superpowers to take sides , being told, in essence, ''If you're not with us, you are against us.''
''Apparently intractable problems, such as the Israel-Arab crisis, Kampuchea, Western Sahara, Namibia, could be solved,'' says an ambassador from northern Africa. ''The regional stakes are limited and there is room for accommodation. But once these problems become bargaining chips in the hands of the superpowers, they are frozen.''
At UN committee meetings dealing with the problems of disarmament and economic relations, American and Soviet diplomats have, in the recent past, bluntly told some of their allies to ''please be quiet,'' according to some diplomats. These persons say they have witnessed scenes that they claim ''were rather crude in this respect.''
Since the beginning of the year East German, Hungarian, and even Bulgarian officials have complained that the Soviet leadership lacks flexibility. At the same time West Europeans have, discreetly, at a high level, expressed their reservations regarding President Reagan's ''star wars strategy'' and ''confrontational attitude'' vis-a-vis the Soviets, according to reliable sources.
At the UN both the ''group of 77'' (developing nations) and the so-called nonaligned nations last month in separate statements rejecting the ''polarization of blocs'' and expressed their concern ''at the rapid erosion of the principles that govern the UN system'' as a result of a return by the superpowers to purely bilateral power politics.
''Many resent the fact that only (US Secretary of State George) Shultz and (Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei) Gromyko are allowed to discuss and to decide on what is good for the rest of the world,'' one East European says.
Recent diplomatic trips point to a desire to continue some East-West contact, West, for example. Romania's Nicolae Ceausescu made a low-profile trip to Bonn this month. Hungary's Janos Kadar visited Paris. And West Germany's Hans-Dietrich Genscher is expected to go to Warsaw next month.
''These visits are tolerated by Moscow and by Washington inasmuch as they remain peripheral and remain low-keyed. To the extent that they clearly express a desire on both sides of the iron curtain to preserve detente, they are not particularly welcome in the two superpowers' capitals,'' a NATO diplomat notes.