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Shanghai Cooperation Organization: an effective alternative to the Western world order

photo: insideover.com
17 September 2022
Yuri SolozobovYuri Solozobov

Yuri Solozobov

Candidate of Science, Physics and Mathematics, Regional Programs Director of CISS

Summit of the non-Western world

The 22nd Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) took place in Uzbekistan on September 15-16. The leaders of SCO member countries participated in it representing Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and India, as well as observer states Belarus, Iran and Mongolia, and the countries being SCO dialogue partners Azerbaijan, Nepal, Cambodia, Turkey and Sri Lanka. This Summit was unique both from the standpoint of the number of participants and the number of applicants ready for SCO accession, and from the standpoint of the scope of the decisions adopted.

Samarkand became the venue for signing the landmark memorandum on Irans commitments for becoming a full-fledged SCO member in 2023. [1] The process of Belarus full accession to SCO commenced, the memos on dialogue partnerships were signed with Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia. The decisions were made to launch the procedure of granting similar status to Quwait, Bahrein, UAE, Mjanma and Maldives. In essence, for the first time in many years practically all influential leaders of the non-Western world met face-to-face.

During a relatively short period, SCO from a regional organization turned into an influential actor of global politics. Today, its member countries, observer states and dialogue partners account for half of the Worlds population over 3.5 bn people. Four nuclear powers are members (Russia, China, India and Pakistan), and two of them (Moscow and Beijing) are permanent members of the UN Security Council with the right of veto. Two member countries (China and India) are the highest populated countries in the World, the organization includes three out of BRICS countries (Russia, India and China) and two Worlds biggest energy consumers (China and India).

Over a quarter of global oil reserves and production output, more than half of global gas reserves and of the proved uranium reserves are located in the territory of SCO countries. As well as the lions share of rare-earth metals required for the modern technologies development. All of this is an evidence of strong geo-economic potential of SCO as of a new effective force capable of becoming an alternative for the established Western word order.

Let us remind here that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was created in 2001 on the basis of «the Shanghai Five». It was after Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Russia and Tajikistan signed a number of important documents the Treaty on Deepening Military Trust in Border Regions (1996, Shanghai) and the Treaty on Reduction of Military Forces in Border Regions (1997, Moscow). However, SCO quickly changed from being a regional organization initially drafted to delimit the disputable borders in Central Asia to an alliance of a truly continental scale. The key objectives of the Organization contributed to that: strengthening of mutual trust, friendship and neighborliness, promotion of efficient cooperation in political, trade, economics and other spheres. Another important factor was an open SCO structure oriented towards large-scale international partnership including the possibility of enlisting new members.

And the main thing: SCO demonstrated to the entire world its ability to independently resolve many problems on the Eurasian continent. For example, promote common objectives in the security sphere by way of a series of initiatives and regular military maneuvers including such large-scale ones as the Peace Mission, in which all members of the Organization participate. The story of American military base in Manas is an illustrative example of SCO influence. Let us remind here that at 2005 Summit SCO demanded all the US military bases be withdrawn from Kyrgyzstan upon the end of the active military phase in Afghanistan. After these events and upon completion of the joint exercise of the SCO peace-makers, the West started speaking about the Warsaw Treaty revival and anti-NATO establishment. After all, this kind of continental Eurasian alliance has been an eternal nightmare for the Western politicians.

Brzezinskis nightmare

«The most threatening scenario can be a creation of coalition with participation of China, Russia, and possibly Iran», Zbigniew Brzezinski, an American geo-politician, wrote that in his book The Grand Chessboard. Why was the guru of Western politics so afraid of such rapprochement? After the disintegration of the USSR and the failure of the bipolar system, the USA used all possible efforts to maintain a mono-centric world order. The US and their allies hoped that the aggregate power of the collective West willow for fixing their global dominance for a long time, if not for good. «This is the world, where due to certain objective factors only one global leader exists, where there is no force capable of putting forward and defending an alternative world order, and at the same time, the capabilities of the global leader are significantly restricted by the positions of the major regional centers with their own understanding of international fairness», Vadim Cymbursky, a Russian geo-political analyst, precisely described. The Americans absolutely refuse to recognize that other countries from Russia and Turkey to Iran and China have the right for real sovereignty. The USA viewed us not even as enemies, but only as pasture for their economy one of the levels of the food pyramid.

Another well-known American geo-political expert Samuel Huntington is his book The Clash of Civilizations found a very exact name for such world order the «uni-multipolar world» or «the West against the Rest». This is a rather simple concept: the USA and their NATO allies dominate with all their aggregate power, and all other «sub-centers» can only play the role of junior partners or harmless «crowd of extras». The underpinning math was simple: all the ragtag opponents of the West («the Rest») have mismatching interests and will never be able to join into a single force a full-fledged political alliance. That is why the American policy during the last three decades was targeted at splitting possible alliances between Europe, China and Russia. The «nightmare of coalitions», which used to be chasing Otto von Bismarck, the Chancellor of the German Empire, for his entire life, has indeed become a new American nightmare. The current conflict in Ukraine, the economic problems of Europe, coup dtat attempts in Central Asia, outbreaks of violence in the Caucasus and pressure on China with respect to Taiwan all those are elements of the coherent strategy of the USA to maintain global leadership.

The uni-multipolar world may develop along different lines from mono-polarity, when the imperial Center takes all the sub-centers under its stringent control, to the so much desired multipolarity. Today we can clearly see all the growing frictions between the weakening «global master»  and new «poles» as the global leadership contenders, as well as growing tensions between the West and the peripheric centers of power. The regional centers opposing the Western projects, these one-half elements of the uni-multipolar world, previously performed as a deeply conservative factor taking care of maintaining and stabilizing the todays world order.

However, the long-lasting hegemony of the USA and obvious intent of their allies to undermine regional centers and establish the western understanding of justice became a truly revolutionary factor. This unwise pressure of the collective West gave birth to a response on behalf the regional centers of power; it strengthened their desire to build a multipolar world instead of the uni-multipolar one, and to do that they will have to go through an acute phase of struggle and challenge the global hegemon in the transition format of the «counter-polar» world. [2]

It is important to understand that the multipolar world cannot emerge just by itself, without acute and even dangerous struggle. The important moment is coming, when sub-hegemons can challenge the «global master». They put everything at stake risking their fat prosperity and their very existence, but they are historically solving the longstanding Hegels «master slave» dilemma. There are two main reasons for this growing trend of the new anti-colonial struggle against the global slavery of globalization. Firstly, the modern world has changed irreversibly: regional centers stopped being a worlds backyards and the periphery of Euro-Atlantic region, they started to realize their own development interests. That is why more and more countries show their apparent discontent with the dominance of the collective West and their shabby position in the food pyramid.

Secondly, more and more nations understand: they found themselves in an unfair global system, which may suddenly switch them off the globalized life-supporting appliance. The war of Western sanctions against Iran, and then against Russia, as well as the speed of such decision-making made this formidable danger abundantly clear.

The international counteraction alliance

In response to these aggravating challenges on behalf of the West, the recent SCO Summit demonstrated a new collective claim for developing the alternative vision of the future for Eurasia. It should be a new proposal of the «common destiny» with the financial and technological architecture independent from the West and with their own multilateral collective security system. By the will of historic fate, Russia today is on the front line of the current anti-Western struggle and is a real hero the leader of «the Rest». The current geopolitical situation is practically word-for-word described in the well-know speech by Zbigniew Brzezinski at the forum of the Nobel Prize winners. In this speech the guru of American politics promises Moscow in case of a conflict with the West not a large-scale open war, but a total trade blockade. «The resolute reaction of the United States will drastically limit the ability of Russia to do profitable business in international trade and will give the appropriate time to deploy bigger American and Western-European military forces in Central Europe». [3]

Zbigniew Brzezinski concludes that if Russia is not supported by China in this military conflict in Eastern Europe, «it will have to choose between economic isolation and withdrawal of troops». But here the American geo-politician made a mistake again by making a stake on «the geopolitical loneliness of Russia». The RF President Vladimir Putin actively participated in the recent SCO Summit and had a number of important meetings with the leaders of the non-Western world on its sidelines. [4] Let us especially emphasize that neither China, nor Turkey, nor Arabic countries including the Gulf monarchies, nor India (all of them had the highest level of presentation at the SCO Summit) do not participate in the open sanctions war against Russia. Previously all these countries had wonderful relations with the USA, but now all «the Rest» clearly understand that tomorrow they may turn out to be the next victims of the war fought by the collective West. To make themselves recognized and esteemed, Russia and other new centers of power have to go a difficult and dangerous path from unipolar to multipolar world order through the burning «counter-polar» world.

Figuratively speaking, the recent SCO Summit became a visible symbol of forming the international alliance counteracting the collective West. It may sound paradoxically, but escalation of ostracism against Russia on behalf of the West resulted in expansion of cracks in the monolith of globalization. As we already mentioned earlier, the «global community», which used to be almost completely pro-Western, right before our eyes ceases to be united and pro-global. In fact, all the advantages of the global market, as well as of other global systems (financial, educational and others) were based on the absence of clear alternative. Practically all meaningful players of the global system including China, India and Russia were within the stringent globalization framework. However, today a noticeable part of the regional centers of power (e.g., participating in the SCO Summit) does not support uniform Western rules of the game, and that is why the American concept of «common destiny» is no longer global, but a regional one relevant for the Euro-Atlantic region. By contrast to this, SCO step by step is turning into an axial structure of the entire Eurasian continent and an attractive example for the two rising continents Africa and South America.

From delimitation of borders to uniting the continent

The recent SCO Summit in Samarkand launched a very important process of non-Western countries consolidation, which will to a great extent define the international relations system in the forthcoming decades . The entire Eurasian continent eastward of the zone currently controlled by NATO is gradually consolidating into an aligned geopolitical community. Let us briefly follow the political evolution of SCO the organization having passed a difficult route from delimitation of borders to uniting the continent during a rather short period. From the moment it was set up, SCO initially positioned itself as a rampart standing against terrorism, separatism and extremism. There were compelling reasons for that. Firstly, this was a relevant response to the terrorist attack on 11 September 2001 and reflected the global anti-terrorist consensus. Secondly, it displayed a real concern of Moscow and Beijing with the threat of destabilization in Central Asia and their commitment to counter that threat.

As time went on, SCO gradually switched from just counteracting terrorism to fighting with illegal trafficking in drugs and finally focused on wide-scale military and economic cooperation. This was an illustrative example of non-Western countries in early 2000s turning back to multilateral security mechanisms versus the «American assistance» imposed from outside. It was then, when the SCO member countries started to fight against negative effects of globalization on their national sovereignty and violation of the previous strategic balance. However, formally SCO has a much broader agenda from ecology to culture, but the key aspects of security and geopolitics started to gain more importance. In our opinion, such balanced approach of the Organization to the collective security issues and the proposed alternative to the Western development pattern became an attractive beacon for many new members of SCO.

In the early years, SCO was focused at reducing the American influence in Central Asia, which started to build up during the military operation in Afghanistan. Currently, the military and political cooperation within SCO is underpinned by some additional factors. Firstly, the unprecedented aggravation of confrontation along all the major lines of geopolitical disagreements; secondly, the on-going rapprochement of Russia, China and Iran; thirdly, the growing importance of Central Asia as an important crossroads of the international transit routes. However, today it is too early to call SCO a full-fledged Eurasian counter-balance to NATO. «Geopolitical adversaries of the USA Iran, China and Russia are too slow in getting united against Washington», the analysts emphasize. At the same time, the above listed countries did not undertake any official public commitments to protect each other. It is for that reason, the Western analysts say, Washington did not have to counteract with the full-fledged alliance of the hostile countries. [5]

Western experts note that from the military standpoint SCO so far is behind NATO, because the entire military component of SCOs policy is embodied in the Regional Anti-Terrorist Center joint anti-terrorism drills. On top of that, different from NATO, SCO does not have a clear military leader. For example, India, Pakistan and China have different vision of their roles as the «Asian hegemon». At the same time, these countries have a series of mutual claims: the territorial issue, nuclear programs, attitude towards Islam, etc. However, such obvious understatement of SCOs role reflects the general trend of Western analysts to underestimate their opponents, as well as their aspiration to devaluate the Organization as a dangerous threat.

In addition, the West constantly uses all the possible efforts to sow seeds of discord among the SCO members. Let us note that prior to the SCO Summit the conflicts along the entire «burning arc» around Russia escalated; at the information front false narratives were released about the alleged exit of Kazakhstan from CSTO, etc. Regional experts also pay their attention to the recent statement of the State Department representative about the objectives of the American policy in Central Asia, which is the «dissociation of the economies» of the countries in this region and the economy of the Russian Federation. [6] This destructive activity of the West is targeted at the inner split between the SCO founding countries, at the dismemberment and devaluation of the Organization itself as an international peacemaker.

Geopolitical evolution of SCO

Up until recently, the SCO policy reflected the approaches of the major members Russia and China, with account of the Central Asian countries' standpoint, of course. Let us be frank: starting from the moment SCO was established in 2001, its members viewed the possible development vectors differently. Russia always was advocating for expanding the number of members and the political potential of SCO, because Moscow viewed the Organization as an efficient instrument for building the new multipolar world. As for China, they believed SCO to be one of the main foreign policy tools for their expansion to the former Soviet Middle Asia. Beijing was sure in its leading role in SCO, because the growing economic and military potential of China exceeded the respective parameters of partners many times. The Central Asian countries viewed SCO as the mechanism for supporting the balance of forces in the region and for deterring the two giants the RF and China. For that reason, these countries including Kazakhstan were pretty much reserved towards the long-standing initiative of Russia about expanding the SCO membership, in particular to accession of Iran.

It was then, when the risk of regional conservation of SCO and turning this international organization into one of the Chinese foreign policy tools. In those years, Beijing was slowly, but persistently changing the regional balance of forces in Central Asia in its favor within its new project «One Belt and One Road». China thoroughly was building its zone of responsibility along the transport/infrastructure corridors up to the borders with the European Union. According to regional experts, simultaneous accession of India and Pakistan in 2017 drastically changed the capabilities of the Organization once and for all turning it from the regional into a global one. Firstly, India appeared as the economic and political counterbalance for the growing influence of China inside SCO itself. Secondly, the SCO goals and objectives overgrew the strict regional frames and acquired the continental scope.

Full-fledged participation of Iran in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is the evidence of the radical turn in SCO the transition from the arithmetic quantity to the geopolitical quality. [7] Let us remind here that Iran filed the application to join SCO back in 2008. However, Iranian accession remained in suspension for a long time due to the sanctions against Teheran. The analysts emphasize that previously not all the SCO members wanted to accept Iran because it was openly anti-Western and because they feared secondary sanctions. However, nowadays each of the SCO member countries already came upon directly or indirectly the sanctions and pressure on behalf of the West. This external stress became a catalyst for transforming the Shanghai Cooperation Organization from the kind of amorphous club of those, who are discontent with the West, into an active new «pole» of international relations. In essence, today SCO is taking shape of a full-fledged geopolitical player and as a real alternative to the Western world order; however, the Organization still needs to go a long way from the globalized slavery to true freedom.

Way forward

The optimal way forward of SCO in the new global architecture is gradual transformation into efficient military and political alliance capable of providing real security guarantees to its members and neighbors in Eurasia. Today Russia is offering the concept of equitable relationship with China, India, Iran and other Eastern partners under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Firstly, it will be a new format of value-based and civilizational alliance of the entire continental Eurasia. Secondly, this is a fresh perspective of the vast Eurasian territories in the center of the «World Island» as spaces for joint non-colonial development and accelerated progress. In our opinion, today Russia is implementing some Russian analogue of the American Monroe Doctrine in Eurasia. It means creating a local international system capable of resisting any external interference. Russia, China and India are the three obvious Eurasian sub-continents supporting such system as three pillars. Geopolitical triangle: Moscow New Delhi Beijing used to be an ideological construct voiced by Yevgeny Primakov, but now it is becoming a political reality.

Today China and India posture themselves among the leading countries of the World and locomotives of the global economy. They are natural allies of Russia for revision of the unipolar world order investing joint efforts together with Moscow in shaping the multipolar world. It would be naive to believe that India and China immediately enter the «hot phase» of total confrontation with the USA or will agree for a brute-force adversarial relations like those of Moscow and Washington during the Cold War. Neither China, nor India alone have sufficient military resource or political influence to allow something like that. But let us not forget about Turkey and Iran the two rising powers of the East, which are self-sufficient from the historical and civilizational standpoints. Firstly, they represent the two different branches of Islam currently undergoing the most powerful modernization. Secondly, Turkey and Iran have their unique vision of the future, different from the unipolar world standards. And finally, both countries offer themselves as allies of Russia for building the continental «steel dome» above Eurasia for aircraft defense and missile defense. Hence, only a combination of efforts of all the leading non-Western countries within SCO may allow for turning the geopolitical tide in our favor.

Today Russia, China, India, Iran and Turkey are united by the objective necessity to defend their common continent from the Anglo-Saxon «guys» rushing to work in their own interests in our historic territories. The common aircraft defense and missile defense system based on Russian long-range air defense systems S-400 and their analogues, as well as on close types of the 5th generation multirole fighter aircrafts together with the common aiming and target indicating system this is a good protective umbrella, which can be opened above entire Eurasia.

Our second common task is maritime dominance, up to the regime of the key straits de-blocking. The adjacent task is creating new transport corridors inside the continent. Maritime communications can be compared with open communication lines, which are cheap, but easily blocked; the overland routes are our secure channels.

The third important task is «aerocratia» creating future dominance of SCO countries in hyper-sound projects and in military outer space. Nothing is impossible in implementing these tasks, because our countries have state-of-the-art military technology, new types of modern weapons, and they are capable of their transfer and exchange. This proves that the SCO military and political frames will be reliable bonds for Eurasia, and the entire world as a whole.

1. Iran signed the Memo commitments for becoming a full-fledged SCO member. SPUTNIK Uzbekistan, 15.09.2022. https://uz.sputniknews.ru/20220915/iran-voshel-v-sostav-shos-28142314.html

2. Counter-polar world. Izvestia, 09.12.2014. https://iz.ru/news/580537

3. The global power crisis and trilateral relations. Russia in global politics, No.1, 2017. https://globalaffairs.ru/articles/krizis-mirovoj-vlasti-i-trojstvennye-otnosheniya/

4. Putin thanked Mr. Xi for his balanced position on the Ukrainian crisis. Kommersant, 15.09.2022. https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/5560619

5. Bloomberg: China, Russia and Iran are gradually joining their anti-American efforts. Kommersant, 03.09.2022. https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/5546654

6. The State Department: dissociation of the economies of Russia and Central Asian countries should be the priority objective of the USA. TASS, 14.09.2022. https://tass.ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/15751827

7. Putin: Irans accession to SCO will positively affect the Organization. Vestnik Kavkaza, 16.09.2022. https://vestikavkaza.ru/news/putin-vstuplenie-irana-v-sos-pozitivno-skazetsa-na-organizacii.html

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Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies
Publications

Shanghai Cooperation Organization: an effective alternative to the Western world order

photo: insideover.com
17 2022
Yuri Solozobov

Yuri Solozobov

Candidate of Science, Physics and Mathematics, Regional Programs Director of CISS

Summit of the non-Western world

The 22nd Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) took place in Uzbekistan on September 15-16. The leaders of SCO member countries participated in it representing Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and India, as well as observer states Belarus, Iran and Mongolia, and the countries being SCO dialogue partners Azerbaijan, Nepal, Cambodia, Turkey and Sri Lanka. This Summit was unique both from the standpoint of the number of participants and the number of applicants ready for SCO accession, and from the standpoint of the scope of the decisions adopted.

Samarkand became the venue for signing the landmark memorandum on Irans commitments for becoming a full-fledged SCO member in 2023. [1] The process of Belarus full accession to SCO commenced, the memos on dialogue partnerships were signed with Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia. The decisions were made to launch the procedure of granting similar status to Quwait, Bahrein, UAE, Mjanma and Maldives. In essence, for the first time in many years practically all influential leaders of the non-Western world met face-to-face.

During a relatively short period, SCO from a regional organization turned into an influential actor of global politics. Today, its member countries, observer states and dialogue partners account for half of the Worlds population over 3.5 bn people. Four nuclear powers are members (Russia, China, India and Pakistan), and two of them (Moscow and Beijing) are permanent members of the UN Security Council with the right of veto. Two member countries (China and India) are the highest populated countries in the World, the organization includes three out of BRICS countries (Russia, India and China) and two Worlds biggest energy consumers (China and India).

Over a quarter of global oil reserves and production output, more than half of global gas reserves and of the proved uranium reserves are located in the territory of SCO countries. As well as the lions share of rare-earth metals required for the modern technologies development. All of this is an evidence of strong geo-economic potential of SCO as of a new effective force capable of becoming an alternative for the established Western word order.

Let us remind here that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was created in 2001 on the basis of «the Shanghai Five». It was after Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Russia and Tajikistan signed a number of important documents the Treaty on Deepening Military Trust in Border Regions (1996, Shanghai) and the Treaty on Reduction of Military Forces in Border Regions (1997, Moscow). However, SCO quickly changed from being a regional organization initially drafted to delimit the disputable borders in Central Asia to an alliance of a truly continental scale. The key objectives of the Organization contributed to that: strengthening of mutual trust, friendship and neighborliness, promotion of efficient cooperation in political, trade, economics and other spheres. Another important factor was an open SCO structure oriented towards large-scale international partnership including the possibility of enlisting new members.

And the main thing: SCO demonstrated to the entire world its ability to independently resolve many problems on the Eurasian continent. For example, promote common objectives in the security sphere by way of a series of initiatives and regular military maneuvers including such large-scale ones as the Peace Mission, in which all members of the Organization participate. The story of American military base in Manas is an illustrative example of SCO influence. Let us remind here that at 2005 Summit SCO demanded all the US military bases be withdrawn from Kyrgyzstan upon the end of the active military phase in Afghanistan. After these events and upon completion of the joint exercise of the SCO peace-makers, the West started speaking about the Warsaw Treaty revival and anti-NATO establishment. After all, this kind of continental Eurasian alliance has been an eternal nightmare for the Western politicians.

Brzezinskis nightmare

«The most threatening scenario can be a creation of coalition with participation of China, Russia, and possibly Iran», Zbigniew Brzezinski, an American geo-politician, wrote that in his book The Grand Chessboard. Why was the guru of Western politics so afraid of such rapprochement? After the disintegration of the USSR and the failure of the bipolar system, the USA used all possible efforts to maintain a mono-centric world order. The US and their allies hoped that the aggregate power of the collective West willow for fixing their global dominance for a long time, if not for good. «This is the world, where due to certain objective factors only one global leader exists, where there is no force capable of putting forward and defending an alternative world order, and at the same time, the capabilities of the global leader are significantly restricted by the positions of the major regional centers with their own understanding of international fairness», Vadim Cymbursky, a Russian geo-political analyst, precisely described. The Americans absolutely refuse to recognize that other countries from Russia and Turkey to Iran and China have the right for real sovereignty. The USA viewed us not even as enemies, but only as pasture for their economy one of the levels of the food pyramid.

Another well-known American geo-political expert Samuel Huntington is his book The Clash of Civilizations found a very exact name for such world order the «uni-multipolar world» or «the West against the Rest». This is a rather simple concept: the USA and their NATO allies dominate with all their aggregate power, and all other «sub-centers» can only play the role of junior partners or harmless «crowd of extras». The underpinning math was simple: all the ragtag opponents of the West («the Rest») have mismatching interests and will never be able to join into a single force a full-fledged political alliance. That is why the American policy during the last three decades was targeted at splitting possible alliances between Europe, China and Russia. The «nightmare of coalitions», which used to be chasing Otto von Bismarck, the Chancellor of the German Empire, for his entire life, has indeed become a new American nightmare. The current conflict in Ukraine, the economic problems of Europe, coup dtat attempts in Central Asia, outbreaks of violence in the Caucasus and pressure on China with respect to Taiwan all those are elements of the coherent strategy of the USA to maintain global leadership.

The uni-multipolar world may develop along different lines from mono-polarity, when the imperial Center takes all the sub-centers under its stringent control, to the so much desired multipolarity. Today we can clearly see all the growing frictions between the weakening «global master»  and new «poles» as the global leadership contenders, as well as growing tensions between the West and the peripheric centers of power. The regional centers opposing the Western projects, these one-half elements of the uni-multipolar world, previously performed as a deeply conservative factor taking care of maintaining and stabilizing the todays world order.

However, the long-lasting hegemony of the USA and obvious intent of their allies to undermine regional centers and establish the western understanding of justice became a truly revolutionary factor. This unwise pressure of the collective West gave birth to a response on behalf the regional centers of power; it strengthened their desire to build a multipolar world instead of the uni-multipolar one, and to do that they will have to go through an acute phase of struggle and challenge the global hegemon in the transition format of the «counter-polar» world. [2]

It is important to understand that the multipolar world cannot emerge just by itself, without acute and even dangerous struggle. The important moment is coming, when sub-hegemons can challenge the «global master». They put everything at stake risking their fat prosperity and their very existence, but they are historically solving the longstanding Hegels «master slave» dilemma. There are two main reasons for this growing trend of the new anti-colonial struggle against the global slavery of globalization. Firstly, the modern world has changed irreversibly: regional centers stopped being a worlds backyards and the periphery of Euro-Atlantic region, they started to realize their own development interests. That is why more and more countries show their apparent discontent with the dominance of the collective West and their shabby position in the food pyramid.

Secondly, more and more nations understand: they found themselves in an unfair global system, which may suddenly switch them off the globalized life-supporting appliance. The war of Western sanctions against Iran, and then against Russia, as well as the speed of such decision-making made this formidable danger abundantly clear.

The international counteraction alliance

In response to these aggravating challenges on behalf of the West, the recent SCO Summit demonstrated a new collective claim for developing the alternative vision of the future for Eurasia. It should be a new proposal of the «common destiny» with the financial and technological architecture independent from the West and with their own multilateral collective security system. By the will of historic fate, Russia today is on the front line of the current anti-Western struggle and is a real hero the leader of «the Rest». The current geopolitical situation is practically word-for-word described in the well-know speech by Zbigniew Brzezinski at the forum of the Nobel Prize winners. In this speech the guru of American politics promises Moscow in case of a conflict with the West not a large-scale open war, but a total trade blockade. «The resolute reaction of the United States will drastically limit the ability of Russia to do profitable business in international trade and will give the appropriate time to deploy bigger American and Western-European military forces in Central Europe». [3]

Zbigniew Brzezinski concludes that if Russia is not supported by China in this military conflict in Eastern Europe, «it will have to choose between economic isolation and withdrawal of troops». But here the American geo-politician made a mistake again by making a stake on «the geopolitical loneliness of Russia». The RF President Vladimir Putin actively participated in the recent SCO Summit and had a number of important meetings with the leaders of the non-Western world on its sidelines. [4] Let us especially emphasize that neither China, nor Turkey, nor Arabic countries including the Gulf monarchies, nor India (all of them had the highest level of presentation at the SCO Summit) do not participate in the open sanctions war against Russia. Previously all these countries had wonderful relations with the USA, but now all «the Rest» clearly understand that tomorrow they may turn out to be the next victims of the war fought by the collective West. To make themselves recognized and esteemed, Russia and other new centers of power have to go a difficult and dangerous path from unipolar to multipolar world order through the burning «counter-polar» world.

Figuratively speaking, the recent SCO Summit became a visible symbol of forming the international alliance counteracting the collective West. It may sound paradoxically, but escalation of ostracism against Russia on behalf of the West resulted in expansion of cracks in the monolith of globalization. As we already mentioned earlier, the «global community», which used to be almost completely pro-Western, right before our eyes ceases to be united and pro-global. In fact, all the advantages of the global market, as well as of other global systems (financial, educational and others) were based on the absence of clear alternative. Practically all meaningful players of the global system including China, India and Russia were within the stringent globalization framework. However, today a noticeable part of the regional centers of power (e.g., participating in the SCO Summit) does not support uniform Western rules of the game, and that is why the American concept of «common destiny» is no longer global, but a regional one relevant for the Euro-Atlantic region. By contrast to this, SCO step by step is turning into an axial structure of the entire Eurasian continent and an attractive example for the two rising continents Africa and South America.

From delimitation of borders to uniting the continent

The recent SCO Summit in Samarkand launched a very important process of non-Western countries consolidation, which will to a great extent define the international relations system in the forthcoming decades . The entire Eurasian continent eastward of the zone currently controlled by NATO is gradually consolidating into an aligned geopolitical community. Let us briefly follow the political evolution of SCO the organization having passed a difficult route from delimitation of borders to uniting the continent during a rather short period. From the moment it was set up, SCO initially positioned itself as a rampart standing against terrorism, separatism and extremism. There were compelling reasons for that. Firstly, this was a relevant response to the terrorist attack on 11 September 2001 and reflected the global anti-terrorist consensus. Secondly, it displayed a real concern of Moscow and Beijing with the threat of destabilization in Central Asia and their commitment to counter that threat.

As time went on, SCO gradually switched from just counteracting terrorism to fighting with illegal trafficking in drugs and finally focused on wide-scale military and economic cooperation. This was an illustrative example of non-Western countries in early 2000s turning back to multilateral security mechanisms versus the «American assistance» imposed from outside. It was then, when the SCO member countries started to fight against negative effects of globalization on their national sovereignty and violation of the previous strategic balance. However, formally SCO has a much broader agenda from ecology to culture, but the key aspects of security and geopolitics started to gain more importance. In our opinion, such balanced approach of the Organization to the collective security issues and the proposed alternative to the Western development pattern became an attractive beacon for many new members of SCO.

In the early years, SCO was focused at reducing the American influence in Central Asia, which started to build up during the military operation in Afghanistan. Currently, the military and political cooperation within SCO is underpinned by some additional factors. Firstly, the unprecedented aggravation of confrontation along all the major lines of geopolitical disagreements; secondly, the on-going rapprochement of Russia, China and Iran; thirdly, the growing importance of Central Asia as an important crossroads of the international transit routes. However, today it is too early to call SCO a full-fledged Eurasian counter-balance to NATO. «Geopolitical adversaries of the USA Iran, China and Russia are too slow in getting united against Washington», the analysts emphasize. At the same time, the above listed countries did not undertake any official public commitments to protect each other. It is for that reason, the Western analysts say, Washington did not have to counteract with the full-fledged alliance of the hostile countries. [5]

Western experts note that from the military standpoint SCO so far is behind NATO, because the entire military component of SCOs policy is embodied in the Regional Anti-Terrorist Center joint anti-terrorism drills. On top of that, different from NATO, SCO does not have a clear military leader. For example, India, Pakistan and China have different vision of their roles as the «Asian hegemon». At the same time, these countries have a series of mutual claims: the territorial issue, nuclear programs, attitude towards Islam, etc. However, such obvious understatement of SCOs role reflects the general trend of Western analysts to underestimate their opponents, as well as their aspiration to devaluate the Organization as a dangerous threat.

In addition, the West constantly uses all the possible efforts to sow seeds of discord among the SCO members. Let us note that prior to the SCO Summit the conflicts along the entire «burning arc» around Russia escalated; at the information front false narratives were released about the alleged exit of Kazakhstan from CSTO, etc. Regional experts also pay their attention to the recent statement of the State Department representative about the objectives of the American policy in Central Asia, which is the «dissociation of the economies» of the countries in this region and the economy of the Russian Federation. [6] This destructive activity of the West is targeted at the inner split between the SCO founding countries, at the dismemberment and devaluation of the Organization itself as an international peacemaker.

Geopolitical evolution of SCO

Up until recently, the SCO policy reflected the approaches of the major members Russia and China, with account of the Central Asian countries' standpoint, of course. Let us be frank: starting from the moment SCO was established in 2001, its members viewed the possible development vectors differently. Russia always was advocating for expanding the number of members and the political potential of SCO, because Moscow viewed the Organization as an efficient instrument for building the new multipolar world. As for China, they believed SCO to be one of the main foreign policy tools for their expansion to the former Soviet Middle Asia. Beijing was sure in its leading role in SCO, because the growing economic and military potential of China exceeded the respective parameters of partners many times. The Central Asian countries viewed SCO as the mechanism for supporting the balance of forces in the region and for deterring the two giants the RF and China. For that reason, these countries including Kazakhstan were pretty much reserved towards the long-standing initiative of Russia about expanding the SCO membership, in particular to accession of Iran.

It was then, when the risk of regional conservation of SCO and turning this international organization into one of the Chinese foreign policy tools. In those years, Beijing was slowly, but persistently changing the regional balance of forces in Central Asia in its favor within its new project «One Belt and One Road». China thoroughly was building its zone of responsibility along the transport/infrastructure corridors up to the borders with the European Union. According to regional experts, simultaneous accession of India and Pakistan in 2017 drastically changed the capabilities of the Organization once and for all turning it from the regional into a global one. Firstly, India appeared as the economic and political counterbalance for the growing influence of China inside SCO itself. Secondly, the SCO goals and objectives overgrew the strict regional frames and acquired the continental scope.

Full-fledged participation of Iran in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is the evidence of the radical turn in SCO the transition from the arithmetic quantity to the geopolitical quality. [7] Let us remind here that Iran filed the application to join SCO back in 2008. However, Iranian accession remained in suspension for a long time due to the sanctions against Teheran. The analysts emphasize that previously not all the SCO members wanted to accept Iran because it was openly anti-Western and because they feared secondary sanctions. However, nowadays each of the SCO member countries already came upon directly or indirectly the sanctions and pressure on behalf of the West. This external stress became a catalyst for transforming the Shanghai Cooperation Organization from the kind of amorphous club of those, who are discontent with the West, into an active new «pole» of international relations. In essence, today SCO is taking shape of a full-fledged geopolitical player and as a real alternative to the Western world order; however, the Organization still needs to go a long way from the globalized slavery to true freedom.

Way forward

The optimal way forward of SCO in the new global architecture is gradual transformation into efficient military and political alliance capable of providing real security guarantees to its members and neighbors in Eurasia. Today Russia is offering the concept of equitable relationship with China, India, Iran and other Eastern partners under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Firstly, it will be a new format of value-based and civilizational alliance of the entire continental Eurasia. Secondly, this is a fresh perspective of the vast Eurasian territories in the center of the «World Island» as spaces for joint non-colonial development and accelerated progress. In our opinion, today Russia is implementing some Russian analogue of the American Monroe Doctrine in Eurasia. It means creating a local international system capable of resisting any external interference. Russia, China and India are the three obvious Eurasian sub-continents supporting such system as three pillars. Geopolitical triangle: Moscow New Delhi Beijing used to be an ideological construct voiced by Yevgeny Primakov, but now it is becoming a political reality.

Today China and India posture themselves among the leading countries of the World and locomotives of the global economy. They are natural allies of Russia for revision of the unipolar world order investing joint efforts together with Moscow in shaping the multipolar world. It would be naive to believe that India and China immediately enter the «hot phase» of total confrontation with the USA or will agree for a brute-force adversarial relations like those of Moscow and Washington during the Cold War. Neither China, nor India alone have sufficient military resource or political influence to allow something like that. But let us not forget about Turkey and Iran the two rising powers of the East, which are self-sufficient from the historical and civilizational standpoints. Firstly, they represent the two different branches of Islam currently undergoing the most powerful modernization. Secondly, Turkey and Iran have their unique vision of the future, different from the unipolar world standards. And finally, both countries offer themselves as allies of Russia for building the continental «steel dome» above Eurasia for aircraft defense and missile defense. Hence, only a combination of efforts of all the leading non-Western countries within SCO may allow for turning the geopolitical tide in our favor.

Today Russia, China, India, Iran and Turkey are united by the objective necessity to defend their common continent from the Anglo-Saxon «guys» rushing to work in their own interests in our historic territories. The common aircraft defense and missile defense system based on Russian long-range air defense systems S-400 and their analogues, as well as on close types of the 5th generation multirole fighter aircrafts together with the common aiming and target indicating system this is a good protective umbrella, which can be opened above entire Eurasia.

Our second common task is maritime dominance, up to the regime of the key straits de-blocking. The adjacent task is creating new transport corridors inside the continent. Maritime communications can be compared with open communication lines, which are cheap, but easily blocked; the overland routes are our secure channels.

The third important task is «aerocratia» creating future dominance of SCO countries in hyper-sound projects and in military outer space. Nothing is impossible in implementing these tasks, because our countries have state-of-the-art military technology, new types of modern weapons, and they are capable of their transfer and exchange. This proves that the SCO military and political frames will be reliable bonds for Eurasia, and the entire world as a whole.

1. Iran signed the Memo commitments for becoming a full-fledged SCO member. SPUTNIK Uzbekistan, 15.09.2022. https://uz.sputniknews.ru/20220915/iran-voshel-v-sostav-shos-28142314.html

2. Counter-polar world. Izvestia, 09.12.2014. https://iz.ru/news/580537

3. The global power crisis and trilateral relations. Russia in global politics, No.1, 2017. https://globalaffairs.ru/articles/krizis-mirovoj-vlasti-i-trojstvennye-otnosheniya/

4. Putin thanked Mr. Xi for his balanced position on the Ukrainian crisis. Kommersant, 15.09.2022. https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/5560619

5. Bloomberg: China, Russia and Iran are gradually joining their anti-American efforts. Kommersant, 03.09.2022. https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/5546654

6. The State Department: dissociation of the economies of Russia and Central Asian countries should be the priority objective of the USA. TASS, 14.09.2022. https://tass.ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/15751827

7. Putin: Irans accession to SCO will positively affect the Organization. Vestnik Kavkaza, 16.09.2022. https://vestikavkaza.ru/news/putin-vstuplenie-irana-v-sos-pozitivno-skazetsa-na-organizacii.html