Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Shanghai Cooperation Organization Trapped in Identity Searches

It is not surprising that these days – as tectonic shifts materialize within the system of international relations, formerly uncontested global authorities like the UN and the OSCE are sinking into serious crises, and the whole architecture of the international law is crumbling - the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional group whose potential is seldom called into question, is passing through a phase of protracted identity searches that threatens to turn chronic.

While China and Russia, the two SCO heavyweights with their original foreign-policy programs, largely define the organization's integral agenda, the group continues to lack an overarching concept, and divisions persist among the SCO members over the objectives behind their alliance. The multilateral part of the SCO internal mechanics appears particularly fragile, plus the interactions between SCO and other global actors obviously await a series of bold adjustments.

It is clear at the moment that many of the unbridged gaps between SCO members are actually widening as the post-Soviet Central Asia is being ripped apart under conflicting external influences. Neither the political and military, nor the economic potentials of the cooperation in the SCO framework have been fully unlocked so far, and the assessment is fair that bilateral activities such as massive Chinese investments in Tajikistan's infrastructures or the energy cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan actually constitute the prevalent form of transactions under the nominally multilateral SCO umbrella. Read More