Russia, China don’t see US in SCO
Russia and China want to give the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) a stronger status but not through the entry of the US in this organization. They want to see India and Pakistan in the status of full members, Afghanistan as an observer and Turkey as a partner in dialogue. The plans have been announced on the results of the political consultations held in Moscow ahead of the SCO’s summit on the level of Prime Ministers slated on November 7 in St. Petersburg.
It is very likely that India and Pakistan will become full members of the SCO earlier than two other observers - Iran and Mongolia. Now the full members of the SCO are Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Moscow and Beijing are working intensively on making the SCO stronger to use it as a counterbalance to the growth of Washington’s influence in Eurasia.
In 2005, at the summit in Astana the SCO called on Washington to finally define the date of the withdrawal of the US military bases from the Central Asian region. In order to make the authority of the SCO comparable with the influence of the blocs led by the US, first of all NATO, Russia and China initiated the largest regional military exercise. At the same time it was stressed that the SCO is not a military bloc and the exercises were needed to master methods of fighting terrorism.
In its turn the US has been trying to enter the SCO. In 2002 the US’ attempt failed because of the tough policy of George Bush’s administration in Central Asia. The US is regarding two preliminary options of cooperation with the SCO both in the rank of an observer and a partner in dialogue for example like Sri Lanka and Belarus.
Meanwhile it looks that Turkey will manage to become a partner in dialogue earlier than the US. Tatyana Sinitsina, an expert on the SCO countries, is careful with making forecasts:
"All over the world the US has the spheres of its interests, so it is quite natural that is trying to penetrate the SCO in any status. If it succeeds there will be a destructive element within the organization. The US wants to use its membership in the SCO to influence the situation in the region and in the world in general. Now the SCO covers more than a half of the global population if we take into account the countries with the status of partners in dialogue and observer. This organization is getting more and more influential. It has proposed a model of cooperation between the states based of their equal rights and deep mutual respect. Have Americans ever worked on these principles. To them this format is absolutely unacceptable as they recognize and respect only one format the format of its dictatorship."
Nevertheless, experts do not rule out that at a certain stage Russia and China may agree on the dialogue with the US within the SCO. In this case Americans won’t be able to learn any special secrets but they will help to raise the prestige of the organization. Speaking about their interests in cooperation within the SCO Americans first of all mention the dialogue on human rights. For the countries of Central Asia Washington is not the most convenient partner on this issue. Meanwhile, according to the general director of the Fund of Efficient Politics Kirill Tanayev, the effect from the entry of India and Pakistan to the SCO in the status of full members may be stringer if the US switches to the organization as well:
"The chances are high that the SCO will turn into a serious institution of Eurasia’s development and the mechanism for the coordination of interests of regional players. It is natural that the US is interested in it. On the other hand, Russia and China’s ambitions to expand SCO first of all via the entry of India and Pakistan will definitely give the organization a new quality. With their membership the SCO will turn into a global player, whose opinion cannot be ignored."
It is not excluded that at the SCO’s summit in St. Petersburg on November 7 the reorganization of the Six into the Eight will be announced. It is also likely that the SCO will uphold Afghanistan and Turkey’s requests to become an observer and a partner in dialogue respectively.