Strategic Implications of the Evolving Shanghai Cooperation Organization
ARMY WAR COLLEGE CARLISLE BARRACKS PA STRATEGIC STUDIES INSTITUTE
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The role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization SCO in regional politics, and the significance of the organization for U.S. interests, is widely misunderstood. The organization is emphatically not a military bloc, and yet engages in joint activities which resemble military cooperation to U.S. eyes. It is, in theory, open to new members but at present is highly unlikely to accept any. Its rhetoric firmly opposes U.S. presence and activity on the territory of member states, and yet individual member states leverage basing agreements with the United States to their advantage. This monograph by Mr. Henry Plater-Zyberk seeks to explain the SCO through reviewing its history and stated aspirations, and measuring these against actual achievements. It concludes that with the notable exception of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure RATS, the great majority of SCO accomplishments are of little significance other than to provide an additional multinational vehicle through which China, and in particular Russia, can seek to counter U.S. and Western activity in Central Asia. Specific policy aims of the SCO, or of Russia or China through the medium of the SCO, should not be analyzed according to U.S. policy criteria. It is not necessary for an event to take place that would be considered by the United States as a substantial policy achievement, in order for Russia to believe that the SCO has contributed to countering U.S. aims as part of an overall strategy. The Strategic Studies Institute therefore recommends this monograph as a key to understanding the real implications of development of the SCO for U.S. interests, and where and how these should be resisted.
- Government and Political Science