Dictator Support Group

19 September 2022


Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

Shanghai Cooperation Organization Has No Purpose


The Putin-Xi meeting last week was not a bilateral summit as one usually defines such a meeting. It occurred on the sidelines of a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Nikkei Asia reports, "Established in 2001, the SCO functions as a loose grouping that fosters stability and trust between former Soviet states and promotes multilateral cooperation. In addition to China and Russia, its official members are Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, India and Pakistan." In other words, it has no real purpose because the members have few common interests. At best, it is a support group for dictators and wannabe dictators.

Nationas have formed international organizations since the 1800s with things like the International Telecommunication Union (1865) and the Universal Postal Union (1874). These do not exist without the power their members wield, and they exist to futher national interests by finding formulae for cooperating with nations that have similar interests. Those like the ITU and the UPU flourish because they serve a need of all their members. When an organization fails, it loses much of its influence, e.g., the League of Nations.

The SCO is an organization whose members do not have much in common. Despite representing 3.1 billion people and a quarter of the global GDP, the interests of the members clash often. Indeed, Armenia and Azerbaijan in one instance and Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in another actually fought during the meeting. In the latter instance, 100 or so people died.

Add to this the almost genetic hatred that Pakistan and India have for one another, the rivalry that the Chinese and Indians have and the baggage Russia carries as the former imperial power over the Stans and it becomes clear that there is little they can work on together.

What they do all have in common is a sense of exclusion from the current world order. Russia and China have been on the outside looking in since World War II, largely because they chose not to join in the fun. India and Pakistan are major nuclear powers who never seem to be consulted about matters of fission and fusion. The Stans used to punch well above their weight as members of the USSR. Now, they count about as much as some of the lesser Latin American states.

Organizations like SCO and the BRICs-related apparatus channel this sense of exclusion into something that could be productive, but with so little in common they seem doomed to be talking shops incapable of much more.

It would be better for everyone (the whole world order) if these states could be integrated into the existing world structures. China and India need to be right at the center of what lies ahead. With 2.8 billion people (about 1/3 of all humans), they matter a lot. Russia is a gas station with nukes, but there are resources in Asian Russia and few people. That wealth must be integrated as well.

This would require the West to alter many organizations and operations. That will upset countless policymakers as well as average citizens. That is too bad, but it must occur. The alternative is already known.

After the Franco-Prussian War in 1870-71, Germany had established itself as a rising power in Central Europe. At roughly the same time, Garibaldi united Italy, creating a power in the Mediterranean where there had not been one. These developments threatened the positions of France, Britain and Russia. Rather than allow Germany and Italy their places in the sun, the status quo powers resisted. That choice resulted in two world wars and tens of millions dead.

The SCO is not going to prevent that. The powers that be must come up with something that will.

© Copyright 2022 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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