SCO, the anti-Nato alliance?
Dark Blue/Lighter Blue: The SCO/Chinese-Russian allies.
Dark Green/Light Green: NATO/western aligned nations.
Turquoise: Non-aligned nations.
Pink: Nations defying the Green bloc and/or with strongly anti-American governments.
Grey: Nations basically in civil war or similar internal serious unrest.
Black: Nations with foreign occupiers/invaders in the midst of serious insurgencies.
Is the dark blue the new Anti-Nato alliance? Russia, China, and four central Asian states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) formed something called the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in 2001. Known more commonly as the SCO, it was recently dubbed the anti-Nato alliance by a Russian newspaper. While not a formal military alliance like Nato, it’s certainly getting there. While the SCO is ostensibly concerned with regional security and energy cooperation issues, it is hard not to see it as at least partially a response to American efforts to expand Nato and American influence in central Asia.
And it’s certainly been evolving more in that direction. The SCO called for the US to set a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan over a year ago. They just concluded joint military exercises, dubbed “Peace Mission 2007.” (Yes, our enemies have caught on to that aspect of western civilization, spin is everything. I mean, look at what image loads when the Peace Mission 2007 link is clicked!) It’s also of interest to note that Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia have applied to be members of the SCO, for now they just have observer status. And with Russia resuming long range patrols with nuclear capable bombers, something they suspended over a decade ago, there’s little doubt that the SCO is a growing concern.
What does it all mean? It’s hard to say. Western analysts are downplaying the importance of the SCO, but that doesn’t mean much. “Western analysts” can include anything from actual analysts, to agenda driven think tanks, to stealth propaganda agencies like MEMRI. In fact the silliness I see coming from “experts” on CNN and Fox makes it clear that people need to think these things through themselves, the western mainstream media is worse than useless in making any sort of realistic analysis of foreign affairs.
There is no doubt that the resurgence Russian military power and the SCO is at least on some level a response to American militarism and expansionism. Putin was even explicit that the Russian resumption of bomber flights was in response to “other states” who did not demilitarize after the end of the cold war, an obvious reference to America and its ever expanding military budget and military global presence. Ironically enough, the resurgence of Russian military power is because of the huge increase in the price of oil, which has nearly doubled since American began it’s current round of expanded operations/ambitions in central Asia in 2001.
Personally I think it’s a curious and important alliance. In one stroke Russia and China make regional friends, reduce tensions between each other, inhibit American inroads into central Asia (a region a tremendous significance in terms of resources,) increase economic development in the region, and force the Americans to piss away even more money if they want to continue their strategy of American global military hegemony. All good for Russia and China, all bad for the USA. I find it hard to dismiss something so contrary to American interests as being of little importance.
In other words, I see the SCO as the sort of thing I have been warning about for years when I criticized the American strategy of global military dominance as epitomized by the New American Century plan we have implemented. This strategy is based on the premises that we are the good guys, and that we can reshape the world in our image through military dominance. Yes, America is the most powerful nation the world has ever seen. Yes, there are many things about America and its freedoms to be proud of. However, this doesn’t magically give us either the right or the power to rule the world. (Not to mention the wisdom.) And worse, it’s an easy strategy to counter.
The SCO is a slick counter to the expansion of Nato and the New American Century. It will cost the USA a fortune to make serious inroads into the SCO, and we could easily make it stronger through further ill considered adventures in Asia. The SCO is already a very powerful alliance, I mean wake up people, Russia and China are quietly forming a power bloc with more population than the west, vast energy and mineral reserves, and an economy that’s growing at a wild pace. And our friends and enemies are lining up at their door! This isn’t important?
Meanwhile the USA is going to spend even more staggering amounts of money pursuing a strategy that hasn’t even made the road from the airport to the Green Zone in Baghdad safe. While the American economy and infrastructure continues to deteriorate from excessive debt and poor maintenance. I have to wonder if the SCO is the future, and it’s Nato that is rapidly become just a pointless 20th century anachronism. The 21st century has already gotten off to an interesting start, nu?
(The above image Copyright © Doug Stych, 2007, all rights reserved.)