New International Order: Intro to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
German soldiers leaving their trenches to attack Dead Man’s Hill (Le Mort de Homme) near Verdun. Hermann Rex. Wikimedia Commons
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during a meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan September 15, 2022. [Alexandr Demyanchuk/Sputnik/Pool via Reuters]
On the 15th and 16th of September, 2022, SCO Heads of State met in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. It was announced that Iran had officially signed a Memorandum of Obligations to officially join as a member of the Organization. As both Iran and Russia have been heavily targeted by imperialist western sanctions, and China continues to be targeted by imperialist provocations over trade and national security — such as Nancy Pelosi’s ill-advised and crisis-inducing visit to Chinese Taiwan earlier this year — Iran has openly advocated for the SCO and its cooperative mechanisms be utilized as a method for continuing economic cooperation and development against the sanctions; a move that would align with other cooperative maneuvers being made throughout the region, and contribute immensely to the de-dollarization of international trade. Such de-dollarization has been in the works for years, with Russia and China both increasingly exploring alternatives; as this interest meets with liquidity issues, such as plagued Laos earlier this year, and trade issues, such as illegal sanctions plaguing the people of Iran, Russia, and Venezuela, and the illegal blockade of Cuba, the trend to de-dollarization appears to be increasingly close to coming into full swing. When the fever-dream of dollar hegemony finally breaks, the United States as we know it will likely break as well — as evidenced by the already-growing market instability and domestic financial crises.
Members and partners for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Shi Yue and Xu Zihe. CGTN.
The Iranian proposition may be seen as a natural extension of the SCO’s pre-existing economic cooperation initiatives, which includes cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and has long been pointed towards the ultimate formation of an SCO free-trade zone. Other initiatives in the economic sphere have been pointed towards expanding energy cooperation and exploration of renewable energy sources; development of infrastructure for both travel and trade; and expansion of financial cooperation to streamline the capital allocation for such projects through the SCO Interbank Consortium. These initiatives align, intersect, and operate in close cooperation with a myriad of other conferences and projects, such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and BRICS economic association. Likewise, it is further expected that other Observer states, most notably Belarus, are expected to join the organization soon — further expanding its scope, areas of operation, mechanisms for cooperation, and market space.
Chinese troops participating in Peace Mission 2021, a counterterrorism military exercise for Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states, parade at a training range in Orenburg, Russia, on Monday. The participants are from eight SCO member states, including China, Russia and Kazakhstan. LI CHUN/CHINA NEWS SERVICE
SCO cooperative initiatives and programs also focus strongly on, besides economic cooperation, military and cultural initiatives. In the military sphere, the Organization has signed agreements with the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), hosted joint-training exercises, such as the Peace Mission counterterrorism exercises, assisted in the coordination of anti-terrorism operations across member countries, and promoted anti-narcotics initiatives and cooperation across member states. In more recent times, cooperation has also entered the sphere of cyberwarfare, necessitated by the development of more imperialist cyberattacks in recent times — as exemplified by the recent revelation that the United States has launched more than 10,000 cyberattacks against China in recent years. The SCO has elaborated, however, that it is not a military alliance, and rather seeks to support peace, defense, and security cooperation.
SCO Deputy Secretary-General Grigory Logvinov speaking at the 6th Taihe Civilizations Forum in Beijing.
In the cultural and humanitarian sphere, SCO cooperation takes the form of frequent forums and high-level meetings. From museums, to youth festivals, to more recent developments in promoting deeper cooperation among member states in the medical and pharmaceutical industries, and cooperation with UNESCO. On the 6th of September, 2022, SCO Deputy Secretary-General Grigory Logvinov spoke at the 6th Taihe Civilizations Forum in Beijing; organized by the Taihe Institute. The forum focused on a theme of Science Culture · Future Ethics · Common Values, with Logvinov speaking specifically on Great Powers’ Rivalry, Regional Cooperation, Security, and Development in the Asia-Pacific Region. The Taihe Institute (TI), founded in 2013, is a member of the Belt and Road Studies Network and the BRI International Green Development Coalition, and the Chair of the expert committee of the Innovation Center for China-U.S. Youth Exchange.
Chinese President Xi Jinping speaking at SCO summit, Samarkand, Uzbekistan, 16th September, 2022. MFA China.