SCO shows vigor of geopolitical cooperation

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/6/24 0:33:01

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) began its annual summit on Thursday in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. As this year marks the 15th anniversary of the SCO's establishment, it's time to review the past and also look into the future. 

India and Pakistan are set to formally sign a memorandum as a key step toward their joining the SCO. An organization's expansion indicates its appeal and prospects.

The West has often thrown a damper on the SCO since it was established in 2001. Western countries indeed have pointed out some inherent problems of the SCO, such as varied values, development levels and sizes of its member states, and the absence of a leader.

Yet despite the downplaying, the SCO has grown to what it is in a down-to-earth manner. Without taking any earthshaking actions, it seems committed to creating a future built on a low base.

It's hard to clearly define the SCO in comparison with Western organizations. Whatever it is compared to, NATO, the EU or ASEAN, the SCO is fundamentally a cooperation organization that started with anti-terror cooperation against three evil forces in Central Asia, and then spread into the economic and cultural fields. It has indeed made some progress. With six observers and two of them, India and Pakistan, to become official members, the SCO has been given hopes for its prospects.

The Asian continent exhibits a kind of cohesion, which differs from the groupings of the Cold War era. The SCO is building a brand new group of nations. Countries that are geographically close often need to exchange with each other and face similar challenges. The SCO works out its cooperation timetable according to the demands and needs of its members and seeks to benefit all, while the member states don't have to pay a cost.

In the Cold War era, many international organizations had external strategic rivals, but the SCO doesn't and won't set anyone against it. With the participation of India, no one can call the SCO an Eastern NATO. Meanwhile, any external force that considers the SCO a threat is incurably dominated by a Cold-War mentality.

Such doubts emerge probably because the West, especially the US, is well aware that it has gone too far in pressuring China and Russia and hence worries that the two will build an organization to confront it. But from the SCO, the West can find a new kind of vitality in geopolitical cooperation. This may be the way that geopolitical organizations are supposed to be.

Over the 15 years, extremists in Central Asia have been significantly cracked down on and countries in the region feel comfortable with the SCO, and that is why more wish to join. 

External forces like the US should give full respect to an organization like the SCO. The voice of the SCO, for instance on the South China Sea, matters in the non-Western world. Washington would seek trouble for itself if it misinterprets these voices.

Posted in: Editorial

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