Situated in what Sir Halford Mackinder has called the ,Eurasian heartland the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) covers a region of utmost geopolitical importance. Central Asia is not only rich in resources, culture and history but also central to a struggle in which three major powers - China, Russia, and the United States - compete for strategic influence. Having both China and Russia as member states the SCO is currently the most important regional organisation in Central Asia and a cornerstone of Moscow s and Beijing s regional strategic policies.
So far, a surprising degree of inattention has been given to the SCO. This new book shows how strategic policy analysts should interpret the purpose and significance of the SCO. The book s great strength is its descriptive richness and detailed analysis. In responding to a number of claims that have been made about whether or not the SCO is - or can be - an organisation that balances Western power, the author illustrates how to better understand the SCO and covers a significant amount of analytical ground in doing so. This incorporates assessments of Sino-Russian sub-regional and global strategic priorities, military-security relations within the SCO, the political and economic postures of its members, energy politics and the regional strategies of Western states
Assessing the role of Central Asia s most powerful and influential regional organisation in this competition is not only important because it provides crucial knowledge for academics, analysts and policy-makers on the SCO s current and future role in Eurasia s heartland, but it also reveals the sometimes visible, but mostly inconspicuous strategic interactions between China, Russia and the U.S in this important region - resulting in significant effects on wider global affairs.
Introduction · Methodology · 1 Confusion in the literature · 2 The SCO as an Anti-Western grouping [2.1 The SCO as an instrument to push Western forces out of the region (Evaluation); 2.2 The SCO as an instrument to maintain autocratic regimes (Evaluation); 2.3 The SCO as an instrument to promote multipolarity, Evaluation)] · 3 The SCO as a neutral regional organisation [3.1 Tensions between SCO members prevent an anti-Western grouping (Evaluation); 3.2 Trade relations with the West prevent an anti-Western grouping (Evaluation); 3.3 Balancing within the SCO prevents it from becoming an anti-Western grouping (Evaluation)] · 4 Conclusion · Bibliography · Appendices · List of Abbreviations
Enrico Fels is specialised on Sino-Russian relations, Europe-Asia affairs, Eurasian security and regional integration in Central Asia. In 2008 he was a T.B. Millar Scholar at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University (ANU, Canberra). He holds a B.A. in Politics, Economics and Society of the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, and received a M.A. in Strategic Studies from ANU.
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