Published in Bellona Quarterly 2/2008 (653) p 81-89
SHANGHAI COOPERATIONORGANIZATION (SCO):
SECURITY OR INSECURITY FOR CENTRAL ASIA?COL ZDZIS
LIWA AND COL YULIN ONG
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 restor e a semblance of the old order. Examples ar e 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 Tr eaty Organization (NATO) to include former Warsaw Pact and the former Soviet republics
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,
The Commonwealth of Independent States consists of eleven former Soviet states of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus,Georgia,
, Ukraine, and
. 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.
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.
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.
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