Aletho News


Meeting of the Defense Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Delhi

By Gilbert Doctorow | April 28, 2023

One quite important event today in global politics is unlikely to receive coverage in The New York Times, The Financial Times, the BBC or Euronews.  I have in mind the meeting in Delhi of the defense ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The SCO is one of the two principal bodies that bring together the nations that are today challengers to the US-dominated world order. The other such body is BRICS.

Whereas BRICS is primarily an economic fraternity with focus on commercial relations among its members, meaning a platform of Soft Power, the SCO is primarily a Hard Power fraternity focusing on the security of its member states. It is also more limited geographically, concentrated on Eurasia. Its founding members were China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Today it also includes Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan. Among the states accorded “observer” status are Afghanistan, Mongolia and Iran. And at its edges as “dialogue partners” are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Egypt, Nepal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and Turkey.

There were a couple of outstanding and newsworthy developments at the SCO gathering in India today. One was the speech delivered by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Several minutes from this speech were carried on Russian news channels and what we heard was Shoigu declaring that from the start of the Special Military Operation in Ukraine the Collective West was throwing all of its military assets against Russia.

The other noteworthy development was the side meeting of Shoigu and his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu. They were shown on television walking side by side to that meeting. Russian news tells us that Li used their meeting to extend an invitation to Shoigu to visit him in Beijing, and that Shoigu accepted.

The impact on the other SCO member states, observers and dialogue partners of these close and fast developing relations between the Russian and Chinese defense ministries cannot be overstated. Today they were all direct witnesses of this fact.  Among other things, this spells the end of opportunities for Central Asian states to play Russia off against China in obtaining favors, as Western media believed they were doing. It completely vitiates all efforts by U.S. Secretary of State Blinken over the past several months to pressure these same Central Asian countries into loosening or breaking ties with Moscow. These states are now all caught between a rock and a hard place.

The drama of the Russian-Chinese entente also will bear on the future conduct of India and Pakistan.  Here, too, the options for playing games or fence sitting are fast disappearing. For their part, Iran and Saudi Arabia will surely be among the countries taking great comfort in the bloc forming between the states they rely on to pursue a foreign policy independent of diktat from Washington.

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2023

April 29, 2023 - Posted by | Aletho News | , , , ,

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