I am fairly confident that this blog about the “Shanghai Cooperation Organization” will be the first time many US citizens will learn about the existence of this organization that is a possible threat the sovereign countries of Europe and the Americans.
The “Shanghai Cooperation Organization actually formed as the Shanghai Five in 1996 in Shanghai, China with the signing of the Treaty on Deepening Military Trust in Border Regions.
The orginal mission of the organization was to set up a regional organization to struggle against terrorism, separatism and extremist – the so-called socialist three forces of evil. Since then the SCO have expanded to cover over twenty large-scale projects related to transportation, energy telecommunications, security, military, defense, foreign affairs, economic, cultural, and banking development and competition.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization incorporates Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Four other countries – Iran, Pakistan, India and Mongolia – act as observers. Belarus and Sri Lanka obtained the dialogue status at the end of April. The SCO currently takes the territory of three-fifths of the square miles of Eurasia (30 million km2 or 1,790,000 sq miles). The citizens of SCO members represent a 25 % of the planet’s population.
The SCO is looking to expand in the near future. Iran has been seeking the SCO membership to add support to defile the United Nations sanctions. Reports in many European news media are that Pakistan (150 million-strong population) and India (billion-strong) are willing to join the SCO. This would be an amazing feat because both Pakistan and India are nuclear states that have often stood on the brink of war with each other.
If Pakistan and India join the SCO, the organization will become a structure incorporating most populated areas of the world – China and India - as well as the largest state in the world – Russia. This will provide the organization a huge powerful platform to direct international decision-making.
Last week the Shanghai Cooperation Organization” was holding its annual summit in the city of Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan (a former Soviet republic). In addition to the traditional agenda – the questions of the economic, investment cooperation and security (military)– the members of the summit reportedly discussed the situations that affect the organization members- the struggle against terrorism, extremism, organized crime and drug trafficking. It is reported this year’s focus was on Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan.
The transnational trafficking of drugs from Afghanistan is considered by the SCO the basic source of instability, extremism, organized crime and terrorism in Uzbekistan’s Fergana Valley, in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, in the Caucasus and Kosovo.
Vladimir Putin said during his speech at the recent security summit in Turkey that the problem of production and trafficking of Afghan drugs developed from a regional problem into a highly relevant matter of international scale. “Terrorist activities in the Northern Caucuses are based on the profit received from the sale of Afghan drugs. Kosovo has become a supplier of Afghan opiate drugs to European markets,” Viktor Ivanov, the head of the federal service against drug trafficking said.
As for the situation in Kyrgyzstan, a member of the SCO, officials said that the nation would remain a full-fledged member of the organization despite the complicated political situation in the country.
The SCO desires to combine and share the cost of military defense projects, and provide a united front in banking and resource developments.
Only time will tell how powerful the SCO will become, the next world super power or only a major power player.
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