The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is the first ambitious attempt to consolidate the political will of the leaders of Russia, China and the Central Asian states on the basis of common conceptual approaches.
Even if the countries’ paths to global and regional development do not match in every respect, they reject the grievances of certain powerful actors who seek to convert their dissatisfaction into geopolitical and other advantages, including on the territory of the former USSR.
Russia is the only SCO founder with more or less obvious experience in establishing and running international organizations, which it gained from the USSR. I am referring to the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Treaty. The positive movement towards creating the SCO peaked after the signing of two important agreements: On Confidence-Building Measures along the Borders (Shanghai, 1996) and On Mutual Reduction of Armed Forces along the Borders (Moscow, 1997).
The SCO emerged at a historical juncture, when the performance of most international organizations, primarily the UN, was called into question.
With the SCO in place, certain organizational and logistical problems cropped up, including the issue of assessing this non-integration entity’s development prospects and its membership concept. But despite problems and doubtful predictions by futurologists and other experts, the SCO continued to make progress, suggesting patterns and vectors for cooperation both inside the organization and with outside partners.
Predictably conflict-free, stable coexistence and partnership with the SCO member-states is one of its most impressive achievements. In many respects, this is due to albeit ambiguous, but generally recognized Russo-Chinese leadership, which is, as I see it, a unique advantage for the Central Asian countries. These countries should be more active in using this SCO component to build up their economic and scientific potential.
Today the SCO is an influential and authoritative security factor in the Eurasian space, one potentially exceeding many international entities.
With the world at a strategic crossroads characterized by various crises, the SCO’s most important objective is to strengthen its immunity to these problems.
The planet-wide degradation penetrating practically every sphere of human life is a huge challenge facing humankind and the SCO member-states. We are witnessing the collapse of the culture of statehood. Some highly extravagant security concepts are declared and then demonstrated.
This requires a strong research and expert infrastructure, which can be created, among other things, by expanding the SCO Forum’s capabilities.
It is necessary to strengthen the organization’s geopolitical and economic potential for timely and fitting responses to the exigencies of modern life. It should immediately react to global and regional crises, expand and solidify its influence over promising areas of international life and propose constructive development models, primarily for the Eurasian region.
The Eurasian factor needs to be interpreted by consensus or on by similar means. There are different views and standpoints on this issue that are occasionally miles apart. For some, the Eurasian factor is a system of values predetermining development of both countries and the region as a whole. For others, it is a geopolitical component for opposition and counteraction. For still others, it is nothing more than geography that is not fundamentally important for understanding one’s place in the world.
The Eurasian factor is a heterogeneous thing both in terms of estimates and political technologies. Eurasian concepts spring up from time to time, which are not always understood, both by outside observers and by those who are directly involved in implementing these concepts.
A new structure should be developed for the SCO, which in many respects continues to function as a platform for conferences. The SCO needs further strengthening of trust among members and the expansion of the number of opportunities for cooperation in projects and various programs.
Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.