Some Thoughts on Two Summits

Over the past three decades non-Western states have been demonstrating high rates of economic growth and social development, their political influence and military power have shot up. The Western and the non-Western world will most likely develop simultaneously in the upcoming decades.

"The G8 died, long live the new G8"

The most important expectation from the recent summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Ufa is that it marked the structure's first expansion in history. It was the place where the procedure of admittance of India and Pakistan to the SCO kicked off. It will step up the organization's influence in the world. Together with six old members, they will form a new "G8". This is absolutely serious: after Russia's being ushered out by Western states, the G8 died and turned into the G7. A real Great Eight is being born.

The SCO has always been arrogantly perceived by the West as a narrow utilitarian group engaged in regional affairs. And all of a sudden, a breakthrough happened at the SCO Summit in Ufa: a decision to expand the organization by admitting India and Pakistan, and to increase the number of observer states. And most importantly, a single Eurasian space is being formed via junction of the Silk Road and the Eurasian Economic Union. The SCO is transforming into a sort of a coordinator of Eurasia.

The SCO will be comprised of about 40% of the world's population after admitting India with almost 1.5 billion people and Pakistan with some 200 million more. The member states will have a share of 30% in the world GDP.   

Complicated and serious changes in the global political and economic situation are on the go. The main tendency is the establishment of a multipolar world order. The world has grown tired of "Washington's Politburo" with its "Secretary-General" Barack Obama, who vowed that America will rule the world for 100 more years. Would it not be better to stick to the "Shanghai spirit" and protect international equity, keep to multilateralism and openness, respect each other's interests, refrain from interfering in other countries' affairs, settle differences and disputes peacefully, promote development and prosperity where everyone can win?

In general, I would name the four key achievements of the SCO summit, specifically, the adoption of a plan for further development, the launch of the expansion procedure, the intensification of cooperation in security-enforcement and the demonstration of the position on the problem of the Second World War.

Non-Western World and Russia

The BRICS quintuplet of Russia, China, Brazil, India and South Africa is still dubbed developing states. But there is nothing offensive about it now. The West, for instance, is slowing down in its development, but BRICS states demonstrate enviable progress in economy.

I well remember the disheartening picture, where President Putin is depicted having a breakfast alone in an enormous restaurant in Australia's Brisbane during the G20 Summit on November 15-16, 2014. It presented such a contrast to the warm welcomes of Putin in Beijing, in Shanghai and anywhere in China.

Under Western sanctions, support to Russia from China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Iran and other states is clearly on the rise. After unfortunate attempts at integrating Russia into the Euro-Atlantic West and very modest results of integration of CIS countries around Russia, Moscow's only choice is to position itself as part of the global Non- Western world.

Russia can take quite a prominent spot in such a company. It has an enormous resource potential, extensive international experience, powerful armed forces, advanced military technologies and formidable scientific and research potential. Non-Western states can be Russia's political partners, buyers of its energy resources and nuclear power plants, weapons and grain. In their turn, they may offer their investments and financial markets.
In order to exploit the remaining opportunity, Russians should start by realizing that the Non- West will be Russia's address for the long haul. That is where it should settle in.

Not West, but not against the West

The dramatic amplification and expansion of the SCO that happened at the summit in Russia has not been left unnoticed in the West. Moreover, influential Western media have started ringing alarm bells on the strengthening multipolar world and, thusly, on the weakening of the West's dominant role. For instance, America's Newsweek magazine emphasizes that admittance of India and Pakistan to the SCO stirs unease in the West. The international organization practically unheard of in the West, the author of an article says, should announce that it will soon consist of countries comprising half of the world's population.

The process of the formation of a non-Western world covering an enormous area is underway.

Russia and China have reached common grounds on the formation of Eurasian space, and the fact is exceptionally substantial in terms of both geopolitics and economics. In fact, China, as a power coming into being, is said to be forming its politics on the continent. Russia's interests, in their turn, coincide with interests of China.

In parallel with dictatorship attempts of the US and problems within the EU, a new Eurasian space has already been formed.

Over the past three decades non-Western states have been demonstrating high rates of economic growth and social development, their political influence and military power have shot up. The largest non-Western state – China – has been ranked second in the list of top economies of the world. In the long run, there is a good chance for India, Brazil, Iran and Turkey to gain a higher status. Each country pursues own interests, which, despite the rhetoric, do not coincide too often.

The Western and the non-Western world will most likely develop simultaneously in the upcoming decades. As China and Russia beef up, the SCO format will gain ground and expand.  

In short, the non-Western world is amplifying, but it will not position itself as a rival of the West, it will be a choice beyond the West. 

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.