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Kw Bellona 2008(2) Shanghai Cooperation Organization: Security or Insecurity for Central Asia

Kw Bellona 2008(2) Shanghai Cooperation Organization: Security or Insecurity for Central Asia

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Published by oylin65
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO): Security or Insecurity for Central Asia. This is the English version of the paper that was originally published in Polish in Bellona Quarterly.
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO): Security or Insecurity for Central Asia. This is the English version of the paper that was originally published in Polish in Bellona Quarterly.

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Published by: oylin65 on Jul 05, 2008
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05/09/2014

 
Published in Bellona Quarterly 2/2008 (653) p 81-89
SHANGHAI COOPERATIONORGANIZATION (SCO):
SECURITY OR INSECURITY FOR CENTRAL ASIA?COL ZDZIS
Ł
AW
Ś
LIWA AND COL YULIN ONG
INTRODUCTION
In December 1991, a global superpower, the Soviet Union disintegrated into fifteenseparate countries. The collapse of the Soviet Union was a significant turning point in history.A highly authoritarian political regime with sufficient military means to destroy mankindseveral times over was dismantled peacefully with so little bloodshed, and the disintegration brought the established international order of a bipolar world to an end and sent theinternational system into a state of flux.As new and existing states grappled with new threats and security needs in a newinternational system, some states took the opportunity to impose a new international order while others sought to restoe a semblance of the old order. Examples ae the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
and the Collective Security Treaty (CST) which could be seento be a successor to the Soviet Union and perceived to be a geopolitical tool for Russia tomaintain its influence over the former Soviet republics. On the other hand, the expansion of the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Teaty Organization (NATO) to include former Warsaw Pact and the former Soviet republics
3
has been perceived as expanding Americanimperialism, and a means to secure US energy interests in the continent’s major oil and gassupplies and a supply line of communications from the Baltic coast to the Caspian basin. Theinclusion of the former Warsaw Pact and Soviet republics is also perceived to be as anattempt to encircle and contain Russia. In response to the eastwards expansion of NATO, theformer Collective Security Treaty (CST) was reorganized into the Collective Security TreatyOrganization (CSTO) in 2002, comprising the remaining member states of Armenia, Belarus,Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. In the economic arena, Belarus, Kazakhstan,Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan signed a treaty to create the Eurasian EconomicCommunity (EEC) in 2000.The geopolitical competition between the major powers continues eastwards and isfast encroaching into Central Asia which is geopolitically significant for being the crossroadsof Europe and Asia and its rich energy resources. Central Asia consists of Uzbekistan,
1
The Commonwealth of Independent States consists of eleven former Soviet states of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus,Georgia,
Kazakhstan
,
Kyrgyzstan
, Moldova,
 Russia
,
Tajikistan
, Ukraine, and
Uzbekistan
. Turkmenistan discontinued permanent membership as of August 26 2005 and is now an associate member. The Soviet government had alreadyrecognized the independence of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania on September 6 1991, and the three Baltic nations refused to join the CIS.
2
The Collective Security Treaty was signed in 1992 by Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia,Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In 1993 Azerbaijan, Moldova and Ukraine joined the Treaty as observers. In 1999 Azerbaijan,Georgia and Uzbekistan withdrew from the Collective Security Treaty. Ukraine and Moldova have also lost their interest inmilitary integration.
3
Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary joined NATO in 1999. Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Slovakiaand Slovenia were admitted to NATO in 2004. Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Albania, Croatia, the Former YugoslavRepublic of Macedonia, and Montenegro have expressed a wish to join the alliance. In 2004, the Czech Republic, Estonia,Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia accede to the EU. Bulgaria and Romania joined in 2007.
Page 1 of 10
 
Published in Bellona Quarterly 2/2008 (653) p 81-89Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan and is also considered the last bastionof the former Soviet Union. Bringing these Central Asian states under Western influenceeither through the EU or NATO would be deemed to be a final and complete ideologicalvictory. Unlike the other breakaway states, these Central Asian states did not seizeindependence but found independence by default.
4
None of them have ever existed before asa distinct entity, are deeply dependent on one another and have been always been reliant on acollective security arrangement.
5
 Common securityinterests and concerns drove China and Russia to found the‘Shanghai Five’ alliance
6
in 1996 to focus on battling the terrorist threats emanating fromAfghanistan and ensuring regional stability in Central Asia, which later became the ShanghaiCooperation Organization (SCO) in June 2001. This paper examines the purpose of theShanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and how it promotes regional security in CentralAsia. It will examine how the organization serves the security needs of the region and itsneighbouring countries, in particular, Russia and China, and how the US presence andinterests in the region can impact the security of the region. The paper will also exploreimplications of the expansion of the SCO.
THE SHANGHAI COOPERATION ORGANIZATION
The SCO members include China, Russia, and four Central Asian states (Kazakhstan,Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) with India, Iran, Mongolia, and Pakistan holdingobserver status. The remaining Central Asian state, Turkmenistan is not a SCO member as ithas declared neutrality but had participated in the recent Bishkek summit in 2007. The proclaimed goals of the SCO are
‘strengthening mutual confidence and good neighbourlyrelations among member countries; promoting their effective cooperation in politics, tradeand economy, science and technology, culture as well as education, energy, transportation,tourism, environmental protection and other fields; making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region, to move towards the est ablishment of a new,democratic, just and rational political and economic international order’
.
7
 The SCO has brought the Central Asia region under the influence of Russia and Chinaand it is inevitable that the organization is viewed with apprehension and suspicions,especially from the US. The Central Asia region is part of Eurasia
8
which Brzezinskidescribes as the centreof world power and the key to controlling Eurasia is controlling the  Central Asian republics.
The key to controlling the Central Asian republics is Uzbekistan.The region (See Figure 1) stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to the Chinese Xinjiangautonomous region in the east, from Kazakhstan in the north to northern Iran and Afghanistanin the south, and borders on Russia, Iran and China. Brzezinski also views Russia and Chinaas the two most important states whose competing interests might threaten the US in CentralAsia, and that the Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Iran and Kazakhstan must be ‘managed’ by the US as
4
Martha Brill Olcott, “Kazakhstan: Pushing for Eurasia”, New States New Politics: Building the Post-Soviet Nations, (eds.)Ian Bremmer and Ray Taras, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997, p. 556.
 
5
These five Central Asian states joined the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 1992 after gaining independence.
 
6
The Shanghai Five consists of China, Russia, and three Central Asian states, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
7
SCO Website:http://www.sectsco.org 
8
Brzezinski described Eurasia is all of the territory east of Germany and Poland, stretching all the way through Russia andChina to the Pacific Ocean. It includes the Middle East and most of the Indian subcontinent.
9
Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, New York, Basic Books,1997, p xiii
10
 
Zbigniew Brzezinski, pp 124-132.
 
Page 2 of 10
 
Published in Bellona Quarterly 2/2008 (653) p 81-89 buffers or counterweights to R ussian and Chinese moves to control the oil, gas and mineralsof the Central Asian republics.
He also notes that any nation that become predominant inCentral Asia would threaten the current US control of oil resources in the Persian Gulf.
 Given its geostrategic nature and energy supplies, it is not surprising that the SCO has been described to be an enigma, a security organization, a regional forum, an anti-terrorismcoalition, a Russian and Chinese-led alliance to counter US hegemony.
The organizationcan also be a potential energy alliance/club that brings energy suppliers and consumerstogether in a unique energy-security arrangement.Figure 1: The Caucasus and Central Asia
Security Organization or an Anti-US Alliance.
The competition in the Central Asia regionheightened as the US, after consolidating its influences in former Soviet republics of Ukraineand Georgia which border Russia, is deemed to be completing the containment of Russia, andcountering Chinese influence in the region, with the establishment of military bases (or forward operating sites) in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in 2001 after the events of 9/11. Thesetting up of the SCO in 2001, was therefore, seen to be an alliance to counter US hegemony,even though the SCO declared that the alliance is not directed against any states or alliances but focused on Central Asian regional security, in particular, the ‘three evil forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism’.
However, at the inauguration of the SCO in October 2001, the leaders of member states said that the organization will foster ‘world multi- polarization’ and contribute to the ‘establishment of a fair and reasonable international
11
 
Zbigniew Brzezinski, p 121.
 
12
 
Zbigniew Brzezinski, p 53.
 
13
Jefferson Turner, “What is Driving India’s and Pakistan’s Interest in Joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization?”,
Strategic Insight,
Volume
 
4, Issue 8, August 2005, Centre for Contemporary Conflicts. Naval Postgraduate School,Monterey, California.
14
SCO Joint Statement,
Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism
, Oct 2001
 
Page 3 of 10

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