Viewpoints : Is The Shanghai Cooperation Organization The New Evil Empire?

Is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization the New Evil Empire
Chinese soldiers stand at attention during Peace Mission-2016 joint military exercises of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the Edelweiss training area in Balykchy some 200 km from Bishkek on September 19, 2016. The joint anti-terrorism drill involves more than 1,100 troops of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and China as members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. / AFP / VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO (Photo credit should read VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images)
By Trevor Loudon

Commentary

Russia and China formed an international power bloc in 2001 that puts the old Soviet-led military alliance—the Warsaw Pact—to shame. It’s called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Most Westerners have never heard of it, yet it’s rapidly becoming one of the most powerful forces on the planet.

In fact, most Western leaders operate under the delusional belief that Russia and China are antagonists and can at times be played against each other. The idea that Russia and China are allies and are jointly working to destroy the West is just too much for most Western leaders to contemplate.

The “Russia and China are enemies” disinformation campaign led former President Richard Nixon to open diplomatic and trade relations with Beijing in the mid-1970s. Nixon believed he could play communist China against the communist Soviet Union. Nixon’s massive blunder undermined the United States’ industrial base, while building up a new powerful enemy. Today, the United States faces two world-class enemies rather than one.

Worse, Russia and China are now open allies.

Alliances

The SCO is a permanent intergovernmental international organization, created on June 15, 2001, in Shanghai by the Russian Federation, the Muslim-majority “former” Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, and the People’s Republic of China.

The SCO maintains two permanent bodies: the SCO Secretariat, based in Beijing, and the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), based in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The organization’s official languages are Russian and Chinese.

The SCO’s stated goals are “strengthening mutual trust and neighborliness among the member states; promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture, as well as in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, and other areas; making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region; and moving towards the establishment of a democratic, fair, and rational new international political and economic order.”

That is double-speak for Russian–Chinese world domination.

The SCO has expanded considerably since its early days, especially since June 2017, when India and Pakistan were granted full membership status.

Currently, the SCO comprises eight member states: India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

The SCO counts four observer states: Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia. The SCO also maintains six “dialogue partners,” namely Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey, and the “Democratic Socialist Republic” of Sri Lanka.

The SCO “family” currently consists of two openly communist states—China and Nepal—and eight formerly communist states, all of which maintain communist-era security structures—Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Belarus, and Cambodia. Further, the SCO includes three major Islamic powers: Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey, plus Afghanistan and two heavily communist- and Islamist-influenced South Asian nations: India and Sri Lanka.

I believe that North Korea is effectively a Russia/China client state and an ally of Iran, and should also be counted as a de-facto member of the SCO alliance.

One of these countries—Turkey—is still nominally a NATO member, which was established to defend Europe from Moscow’s expansionist ambitions. Turkey is also increasingly becoming the leader of the global Islamist movement.

The SCO is now the largest regional organization in the world in terms of geographical coverage and population, encompassing 60 percent of Eurasia and almost half of the world’s population.

Even more disturbingly, the SCO is a formal, if little-reported-on, military/national security alliance.

War Games

The SCO’s first joint military exercise was held in 2003, with the first phase taking place in Kazakhstan and the second in China. Russia and China have since cooperated in large-scale war games involving thousands of troops—called Peace Missions—in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2010, and every two years since.

India and Pakistan joined the exercises for the first time in 2018.

During the 2007 war games in Russia, with leaders including then-Chinese President Hu Jintao present, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin announced that Russian strategic bombers would resume regular long-range patrols for the first time since the end of the “Cold War.”

“Starting today, such tours of duty will be conducted regularly and on the strategic scale. … Our pilots have been grounded for too long. They are happy to start a new life,” Putin said, according to The Associated Press.

These patrols now regularly skirt Western Alliance air space.

Of the world’s top 15 military powers (the United States still claims the No. 1 position), the SCO family includes:

No. 2: Russia
No. 3: China
No. 4: India
No. 9: Turkey
No. 14: Iran
No. 15: Pakistan

Of these, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and probably Iran are nuclear powers. It’s also possible that many of the former Soviet republics now in the SCO network maintain some covert nuclear stockpiles.

The United States claims about 6,200 nuclear weapons, all developed before 1992, while France, the United Kingdom, and Israel have around 600 between them, for a total of about 6,800.

Russia publicly claims nuclear weapon parity with the United States (but likely secretly maintains several thousand more), most of which are state-of-the-art weapons; China has around 290 nuclear weapons; India and Pakistan have around 140 each; and North Korea has around 10—for a total of around 7,100.

In the event of all-out war, India may go its own way, as may France, but it’s clear that the SCO has more than enough firepower to mount a serious challenge to a very shaky Western alliance.

It’s foolish to believe that if the United States ever gets in a shooting war with China that Russia will stay on the sidelines. Almost certainly, war with either Russia or China will turn rapidly into a war with the SCO. India under the Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi may well be the wild card, either remaining neutral or possibly allying with the West. However, India did formally join the SCO well after Modi came to power in 2014.

Certainly, India’s very strong communist movement would push to support Russia and China.

According to an article in the Oct. 25, 2006, edition of the Communist Party of Australia’s Guardian newspaper, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Prakash Karat said: “The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) countries are going to be the new powerhouse of the world. It is in India’s enlighten­ed interest that we understand its importance as we are a country which desperately needs energy. … Trilateral co-operation between India, China, and Russia has symbolic significance as it can dispel the notion that the 21st century is an American century.”

Naivety and cowardice toward the totalitarian regimes of Moscow and Beijing got us to the point we are at today. Nixon’s foolish opening to China built a hostile superpower in less than five decades. Reagan’s toughness on Russia forced Moscow into a 20-year retreat. Not defeat—retreat. Now, Russia is ahead of the United States in most key military areas. A disproportionate focus on the Islamic threat for the past 20 years—while perpetuating a belief that Russia and China could be managed separately—has proven a disastrous strategy.

President Donald Trump has been tough on both Russia and China and their puppets in Iran and North Korea. The only way out of the mess now is to quickly rebuild the United States’ military capabilities while isolating the new Evil Empire until Russia or China—or hopefully, both—is forced into real regime change.

That’s a risky strategy, but any other approach virtually guarantees defeat—and the end of Western civilization as we know it.

Trevor Loudon is an author, filmmaker, and public speaker from New Zealand. For more than 30 years, he has researched radical left, Marxist, and terrorist movements and their covert influence on mainstream politics.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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