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"...as a Russian and Chinese-led alliance created to counter US hegemony"
August 23, 2007 5:07 PM   Subscribe

The Shanhai Cooperative Organization. [wiki] When Moscow and Beijing engineered the creation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) six years ago, I am not sure if they foresaw its emergence as an important actor in the international order. Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia, currently observers, are lobbying hard to get accepted into this club. The US request for membership was rejected two years ago.
posted by delmoi (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, that's a lot of oil.

I can't imagine the US request for membership was considered even briefly. What do we bring to the table except some really crappy international politics and bad attitude. China has everything they want from us, and is in a position, financially and millitarily, to tell us to fuck off.
posted by doctor_negative at 5:33 PM on August 23, 2007


This is all for show. China, Russia, and India have historical enmity and wildly diverging interests. And the former Soviet republics don't necessarily have a great deal of fondness for Russia.

Of course the US has invited this sort of thing by acting insane and, in effect, telling everyone that their governments are illegitimate. But the real story, I think, is expanding Chinese trade and diplomatic influence in Latin America and Africa.
posted by ibmcginty at 6:35 PM on August 23, 2007


This is an Economist cartoon about the US threatening sanctions on China, but I think it is apt here too.

"Hey, we like cooperat–"

(stare)

"No, really!"

(stare)
posted by blacklite at 6:35 PM on August 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think this says more about the rising power of China than it does about multinational realignment. I expect China will will become the senior partner in coming years, unless Russia decides to play fast and loose with its energy supplies to flex its muscles.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 6:53 PM on August 23, 2007


Russia and China recently did some big joint military maneuver - so that old communist link (once forged after WWII and then broken by a border war) is reanimated ...
posted by homodigitalis at 6:54 PM on August 23, 2007


China will get what China wants.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:18 PM on August 23, 2007


ibmcginty: India isn't in the SCO, they only have observer status.

Russia is a resource exporting country and is the second biggest exporter or arms in the world. China is a huge resource sucking power and has a current desire to re-equip their armed forces with modern weaponry.

They are a natural fit.

In addition, US actions in Central Asia since the end of the Cold War are legitimate causes of concern to both China and Russia.

The SCO is not for show.
posted by sien at 8:04 PM on August 23, 2007


Russia might also be swimming in money these days, but their population is shrinking fast. Overall social conditions are still in decline. In this partnership China will be the giant for the forseeable future.
posted by homodigitalis at 8:16 PM on August 23, 2007


The long view here is that China and Russia still have great differences of opinion and, more importantly, interests. The SCO provides a way for them to mediate these differences in a slightly more constructive way than shooting at each other. That doesn't make it for show, but it doesn't make it an alliance either.

Certainly at its formation six short years ago it served primarily as a defense against assumed US hegemony in traditional Russian spheres (while China, being traditionally isolationist, hasn't had much in the way of spheres that it hasn't already absorbed). It may even have served Russia somewhat to moderate Chinese advances in the region. But the article is correct in that the expectations of US soft power have eroded substantially since then and thus the SCO has begun to show promise at restoring what these powers see as a natural order.

I don't think it should be overstated, though. It's not going to turn into an Asian Union anytime soon although it may take on aspects of a tariff union like NAFTA. China and Russia both have interests in pursuing relationships with the US and will do so.
posted by dhartung at 12:06 AM on August 24, 2007


China has everything they want from us, and is in a position, financially and millitarily, to tell us to fuck off.

They need a market for their crappy exports, and I don't see anyone else stepping up to the plate on that one. We tighten our belts, their boom goes bust, with ugly consequences for all concerned.

(Given the recent spate of scandalous export stories, I wonder if US corporate buyers might start discounting the cheap cost advantage and look elsewhere for product. And if the global greens ever succeed in getting the word out on just how godawful pollution in China really is, how far that might effect the situation. Probably not a lot, it being so far away and all, but still, you never know.)

Militarily, well, that's a many splendoured question. Fact is the US has not been keen on going to war with them for near sixty years, so it's not as if there's much of a change on that front. Unless they start getting more aggressive, which prospect also involves several hours worth of discussion.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:48 AM on August 24, 2007


(More here) Interesting that it's named for Shanghai. China on top once again.
posted by IndigoJones at 8:14 AM on August 24, 2007


We tighten our belts, their boom goes bust, with ugly consequences for all concerned.

If we tighten our belts, we'll tighten on the big-ticket items first: homes, cars, and so on. We're not importing these from China (although cars will happen sooner or later.)

Next, we'll tighten on the luxury items: premium foods, premium goods -- who can afford the "best" lawn furniture these days? Those aren't China's sweet spot, either.

China exports *cheap* things to us. These are the last things we'll stop using, because they're not the luxuries or the big-ticket items, they're the basic necessities -- and many are either impossible to get more cheaply from local manufacturers, or just impossible to get from local manufacturers at all.
posted by davejay at 12:57 PM on August 24, 2007


(or they're the cheap alternatives to the luxury items.)
posted by davejay at 12:57 PM on August 24, 2007


Russia might also be swimming in money these days, but their population is shrinking fast. Overall social conditions are still in decline.

Conversely, China still faces overpopulation problems, but their social conditions are improviing. They could fill Russia and, at the same time, get an even bigger boost in conditions.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:46 PM on August 24, 2007


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