Cooley Slides - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Carnegie Moscow
23 March 2011
Professor Alexander Cooley
Barnard College, Columbia University
Western Views of the Shanghai Cooperation
Organization: Potential for Engagement?
What is the SCO?
As the most important code of conduct of the
SCO, the "Shanghai Spirit" has enriched the
theories and practices in contemporary
international relations and has manifested the
popular demand of the international community
for the democratization of international
relations. It is of immense significance in the
search of the international community for the
establishment of a new type of international
China National News Service, August 2007
Outline of the Presentation
I. Different Western Views of the SCO
II. Evaluation of Empirical Record and
III. Emerging EU and US Attitudes towards
the SCO
IV. Conclusion: Theoretical and Practical
Differing Western Views of the SCO
View #1: SCO as Anti-Western Bloc
• 2005 Astana Declaration on US military bases
• Fear of Russia-China Strategic Partnership; SoftBalancing (Walt; Pape)
• Concern Over “Energy Club” and Iranian
Participation (Cohen; Jamestown Foundation)
Split in Russian-China Security
The Impact of the Georgia War
• Russian Recognition of Independent Abkhazia and South
• China and Central Asia’s refusal to follow at 2008 SCO
Summit in Dushanbe
• Moving from the SCO to the CSTO?
Northern Distribution Network
Source: International Institute for Strategic Studies
Differing Western Views of the SCO
View #2: SCO as an “Authoritarian Club”
(Ambrosio 2008; Amnesty International)
• “Shanghai Spirit” vs. Western Liberal Values
• Sovereign “Non-Interference” Condones Political
• Privileges State power over Civil Society
SCO and Political Values
• Does the SCO Restrict Democratic Opposition under the
3 Evils Principle (separatism, terrorism, extremism)?
• Does the SCO Target Western NGOs working on
Democracy Issues (post Colored Revolutions)?
• SCO Election Monitors vs. OSCE/ODIHR Monitors
• Human rights and Rendition Policies
Differing Western Views of the SCO
View #3: SCO as a Regional Public Goods Provider
(Antonenko 2007; Marcel de Haas)
• SCO is Fostering Needed Regional Integration
and Cooperation
• From Border Resolution, to Economic
Cooperation, Trade, Infrastructure and
Communication; Partner for Afghanistan
• Recommendation: EU-US-NATO should Engage
with SCO
SCO as a Public Goods Provider:
The Economic Agenda Stalled?
• Little Progress Made on SCO Free Trade Zone
• Infrastructure and Development Taking Place
through Bilateral Agreements With China, not
through SCO Business Council or Interbank
• Lack of Coordination on Response to Financial
Financial Crisis Emphasized Chinese Strength,
Russian Weakness
SCO as a Public Goods Provider:
The Economic Agenda
Financial Crisis Emphasized Chinese Strength,
Russian Weakness
• Debate over the Stabilization Fund
- Russia prefers to Make Bilateral loans to CIS countries
(Belarus, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan)
- Still has problems securing political demands
- China funds SCO Stabilization Fund Unilaterally ($10b)
SCO as a Public Goods Provider: The
Economic Agenda
Financial Crisis Emphasized Institutional Weakness of
Central Asian States (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan)
• Borders in Central Asia remain “Commercialized”
• Informal Barriers Remain High
• Institutionalized Corruption High in State Agencies
(customs, border guard and security services)
• Agreements Signed vs. Capacity to Implement
• Similar Problem with Anti-Narcotics Initiatives (Tajik
border guard)
Emerging EU Views of the SCO
• Competence: Mixed. Support public goods
dimension. Disappointed in lack of progress on
trade, infrastructure and economic development.
• Values: Negative. Issues of Minority rights vs.
Separatism; role of Ahmadinejad in SCO
• Strategy: Mixed. Consistent with EU Central
Asia strategy and the promotion of regional
integration. But EU-China bilateral relations also
possible as forum.
Emerging NATO Views of the SCO
• Competence: Indifferent. Regional public goods
agenda is not a NATO concern; too early to
evaluate anti-narcotics initiative.
• Values: Indifferent. NATO has downgraded the
values dimension in dealing with Central Asia
• Strategy: Potentially positive. Enhancing
sovereignty of Central Asia states; preferable to
CSTO; new strategic context of NDN
Conclusions: Terms of Engagement
• Differential Prospects for Engagement: Western
international organizations will respond to the
SCO according to their different priorities:
competence, values and regional strategy.
• EU vs NATO: At the moment, EU seems to be
trending against engagement; possibility with
NATO-US might be there for the future
Conclusions: Sovereignty and Regional
• SCO and Sovereignty: SCO places priority on respecting
the sovereignty and domestic non-interference in
member states
• Yet, many SCO initiatives are slow because of
institutional weaknesses in Central Asian states
(corruption, patronage, informal networks,
commercialization of borders)
• Successful regional integration requires high technical
competence and precision for implementation
• Some sovereign delegation seems inevitable
• Otherwise, increasing bilateral contacts and functional
substitution will substitute for SCO multilateral structures
Conclusions: Potential Tensions with Other
International Organizations
Will the SCO Coordinate with Other Organizations?
• New SCO Stabilization fund: $10 billion far
Surpasses Western Economic Assistance in
Central Asia
• Will SCO Coordinate with Other Providers of
Project and Infrastructure Financing (World Bank,
• The “Angola Scenario”: China is Viewed as
Displacing International Organizations in Central
Conclusions: SCO Needs a “Public
Engagement would be Helped by an SCO
“Public Goods” Success
• Water Management and Coordination
• Investment or Projects in Afghanistan
• Real progress on Trade and Economic