The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) 5th summit opened in Shanghai yesterday. The leaders of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan signed the declaration to establish the SCO five years ago. This time the leaders gathered in China to sum up the results of the five-year activity of the organization.
It is obvious that the SCO authority has increased greatly during the above-mentioned period. Media outlets all over the world evince a special interest in the current event. The interest is actually based on the fact that the SCO is considered an organization which was created as a counterbalance to the USA’s influence in the region. That is why the organization is often characterized as “anti-Western,” “anti-NATO” and “anti-American.”
Such estimates appear in the Western press mainly because of remarks from the SCO leaders. President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, stated on his arrival to Shanghai: “The events of the recent years have shed some light on true and fake friends of the region. We are determined to decisively counteract to all attempts to impose Western views of democracy and public development to our countries.”
Needless to say that Western officials do not leave such remarks out of their attention. The Wall Street Journal published an article, in which it hysterically said that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was spreading its authoritarian roots and that it was about time the “free Western countries” should pay attention to those regions of the world that they ignore.
The German newspaper Tagesspiegel shares another point of view. The publication believes that the USA identified the dangerous potential of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization long ago as a serious counterbalance to OPEC and NATO.
As long as such points of view exist in the West, it brings up the idea that the SCO has not become a formal organization the presence and activities of which can be found only on official documents. Quite on the contrary, it possesses a “dangerous potential.”
For the time being the organization incorporates six members. Four other countries – India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia – possess observer’s status. There is also Afghanistan: the SCO established a contact group to cooperate with this country. Pakistan and Afghanistan can obviously not be referred to as the countries that have an uncontrollable desire to join any anti-Western coalitions. India is not seeking support to its anti-American, anti-European and anti-whatever political course either. India has been developing cooperation with the USA speedily during the recent years.
Iran can obviously be categorized as an anti-Western country. Putin’s negotiations with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will become one of the key events of the current SCO summit. Iran’s anti-Western stance stands in direct proportion to the level of criticism from Washington and European countries.
“I believe one should not look for the anti-Western constituent in the activity of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Of course, Russia is trying to strengthen its influence in the region with the help of this organization. I would rather place economic cooperation on top of SCO’s list of priorities,” an expert of the Institute of Strategic Estimates and Analysis, Sergei Demidenko said.
That was exactly the reason why President Putin decided to establish the Energy Club within the scope of the SCO. The head of state added that Russia could fund certain economic projects of the SCO too (investments may reach up to $500 million).
The problems of energy and politics have always been connected with each other. As long as the US administration has “identified the dangerous potential of the SCO” one shall assume that the rivalry in the region will get more intense in the future. First and foremost, Iran hopes to find support in the organization. Pakistan, USA’s long-standing ally, has applied for SCO membership as well.
Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s major achievements will obviously be done in the future. The same goes for major difficulties. The USA is not going to be happy to face the existence of a powerful regional organization which has no wish to indulge in its regional interests. The US administration will probably try to derive profit from the competition between Russia and China.
The further perspectives of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization solely depend on its member-countries.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
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