It has now become finally and irrevocably clear what is happening in the world, who is treaty-eligible and who cannot be trusted. The world is in endless confrontation. This conclusion is drawn after the West exposed its consistent and long-term strategy of turning Ukraine into “anti-Russia”, the main goal of which is to prevent Moscow’s participation in international affairs as an independent, strong and increasingly influential player.
The U.S. and European countries are reacting more and more hysterically to Russia’s special military operation, which confirms the failure of their geopolitical plans and games. At the same time, Moscow assumes that most countries of the world do not share the West’s attempts to assert its dominance on the world stage by imposing illegal sanctions, issuing ultimatums and threats, using blackmail and political pressure. The rejection of such measures accelerates the transition to true multipolarity in the world.
Under these conditions, foreign policy can be built only on the basis of those countries that have proven their ability to negotiate and are not trying to achieve their goals at the expense of the interests of others. This approach is based on the balance of interests principle. And only such a practice ensures the prospects for the development of such associations as the EAEU, BRICS and the SCO.
The West has always had a negative attitude towards alternative centers of influence, considering them a threat to its dominance. However in 2001 no one in the US or EU countries took seriously the idea of creating the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, regarding it as another narrow regional organization on border regulation, as a structure with no obviously effective goals and no claim to a global geopolitical role.
Preoccupied then with the problems of the states of former Yugoslavia and Kosovo, the White House did not give due consideration to the fact that two influential nuclear powers and permanent representatives of the UN Security Council, Russia and China, participated in the SCO, which objectively predetermined the growing importance of the organization. With the granting of observer and partner status, as well as the accession of India and Pakistan in 2017 and Iran in 2022, the SCO has evolved into a major Eurasian structure, in many ways determining not only the regional, but also the global future.
Two waves of SCO expansion have already taken place at a time of escalating confrontation between Russia and the PRC with the United States and its allies. This shows that, despite their continued financial and economic dependence on the global West, the developing states of Asia are seeking to revise the Western-centric world order. In fact, the SCO platform is becoming the core of a new multipolar world. It is around the “Shanghai organization” that new formats of international cooperation will be created, alternative to the existing Western models.
At the same time, its policy is not aimed at confrontation with the West. The organization’s three main “no” principles – no alliances, no confrontation and no attacks on third parties – are in the interests of most Asian countries. As a result, ten states, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt and Bahrain, and Myanmar have shown great interest in cooperating with the SCO, within which they want to realize their plans and capabilities.
So far, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey are dialogue partners. Afghanistan, Belarus and Mongolia are candidates for membership. The Organization is steadily moving beyond its strictly regional remit and aims to participate actively in global affairs. At the same time, it retains the position of one of the most significant forces in the processes taking place in Eurasia, where important integration processes are taking place.
First of all, the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and China’s Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) program, which is an overland part of the One Belt, One Road initiative. The SCO plays an equally important role in ensuring stability and security in Eurasia. It is to counter non-traditional threats and challenges to security, such as international terrorism, extremism, organized crime, drug trafficking, illegal migration, energy and environmental problems that all states face.
The results of the last SCO summit in Samarkand in September last year indicate a notable modernization and evolution of the organization’s activities and its transformation into an influential international structure. The joint declaration of the summit stresses that the further development of the SCO is not aimed at confrontation with the West, but rather at shaping a cooperation platform that could oppose Western sanctions and threats against the SCO members, protectionist policies and trade restrictions. At the same time, the decision to expand the practice of gradually increasing the share of national currencies in mutual settlements appears to be the key project.
An important outcome is the start of the process of creating the SCO Development Bank and the SCO Development Fund as a possible alternative to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, which are controlled by the West. In the future, all this could lead to the formation of a new independent mechanism of a single cash and settlement center on the SCO platform, like SWIFT.
Also on the agenda there is the possibility of adopting a single currency unit for the SCO members in the future. There is no consensus on this question: “cyber Yuan”, the gold equivalent or the introduction of a system of “international reciprocal rights”, which is used in a number of international organizations.
The heads of SCO member states have declared inadmissibility of interference in the internal affairs of countries under the pretext of combating terrorism, hold similar views on the current international agenda, stand for a more just world order, against the militarization of information technology. Rapid resolution of the situation in Afghanistan is recognized as one of the most important factors in strengthening security.
More than half of the key provisions of the joint declaration of the SCO participants in Samarkand contain, directly or indirectly, an anti-Western undertone. It is no coincidence that the United States got worried after President Putin and President Xi Jinping talked about a “united front” on the world stage. U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn claimed that the leaders of China and Russia are trying to create a “new world order” that would threaten “world democracy and sovereignty”.
At the same time, other leaders signed the joint declaration and made it clear that the time of Western hegemony is inexorably running out.