Thursday, October 27, 2005

A Developing Rival to NATO

"It's very important that regional powers are showing the will to resolve Eurasian problems without the intrusion of the US," says Alexander Dugin, chair of the International Eurasian Movement. "Step by step we are building a new world order that is not based on the unipolar hegemony of the United States."

In an article outlining a developing coalition of Eurasian states, it is suggested that Russia, and China may be building a rival alliance of nations determined to dominate Asian affairs and diminish the U.S. sphere of influence in the region. It is suggested that other nations, such as nuclear powers India and Pakistan, and Iran, which, of course, is a wannabe nuclear state and part of the 'axis of evil,' may be interested in joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The SCO formed in 2001 and was largely ignored by Washington, but now there is both rhetoric and action suggesting more intense security and military alliances may be a possibility with one goal being a deterrent against NATO. For instance, last August Russian bombers, submarines, and paratroopers staged mock invasions of a destabilized region with Chinese troops, and the Russian Defense Minister has just suggested te first of a series of Indian-Russian-Chinese war games.

Clearly Russia still wants to maintain its position as a major world player, and it needs to keep its presence strong in its own backyard. China is projected as the next superpower, and to do so appears to be following the U.S. model by building up its military. It needs to build its presence in Asia in order to continue to become a more dominant player that can compete both economically with the likes of the U.S. and Japan, as well as militarily with the U.S. India and Pakistan have, in the last few years, been mre friendly with the U.S., but may find it advantageous to become members of the SCO because they, too, need to try and be more dominant in their part of the world.

What will be of interest to the U.S. are the possible scenarios if strong military relationships ever do develop out of the SCO. What would the implications be regarding Taiwan? What would the implications be in the MidEast for Iraq, if Iran suddenly has formal military, trade, and/or economic relationships with the likes of Russia and China? It is no secret that Iran has been trying to influence the Shia coalitions in Iraq. Russia continues to support building nuclear reactors for Iran, and the U.S. treatment of Russia in the past few years may only encourage them to move in this direction as the once 9/11 support for the U.S. has all but disintegrated. Will the complete disregard of world opinion and military aggression by the Bush administration since 9/11 help these nations decide to move ahead with a large military alliance throughout both Asia and the Middle East? How will this affect trade and economic development in the area? Would China ever get involved with Russia, which has large oil reserves, to help with its need and thirst for oil? What will the U.S. and NATO reaction be to such an alliance? Will Japan feel the need, as is already being debated, to rebuild its military and possibly become a nuclear power to offset China's rapid military build-up (I can only imagine they both will be competing to be the dominant influence in Asia)? It will be interesting to see how this one develops, to say the least. I'd love to hear other, more expert, views on this one.


IJ said...

Some feedback.

It'll be interesting to compare the enthusiasm of SCO members for military spending with the experience of NATO. Taxpayers in NATO countries are becoming unwilling to pay insurance; the figures are here.

An example was in the press at the weekend.

blanck said...

whatever else is said, china and russia still share a very long border. if the us plays its cards right, there are greater incentives for each side to cooperate with the us than with each other.

vonny said...

ij and blanck,

Do you think an incentive for some of the countries considering joining the SCO is to get the US and other NATO nations to be more willing to invest and open new trade pacts, to help them resist the temptation of SCO connections?

China in particular needs to be careful not to disrupt the trade surplus it enjoys with the US, so how far would they be willing to push stronger military alliances with the SCO?

Thanks for your comments.

IJ said...

blanck and vonny,

The threat of competition for territory is also mentioned in today's (3 November) PINR Intelligence Brief: Russia in the S.C.O..

Members of SCO seem to be looking for security that the international community hasn't provided so far. It's a pity the United Nations hasn't yet officially adopted the NATO's of the West and of the East - but in the UN reform discussions, everyone has now agreed that a 'Peacebuilding Commission' for the world is needed.

IJ said...


For additional information,
Sun Bin has a good post about China's territorial disputes.

vonny said...

Thanks, ij. I'll check out your links. Cheers!