View Full Version : China's Great Game Part II

20-07-05, 22:10
The SCO is a beneficial organization for all nations
involved. The Central Asian members - all of which,
save Kyrgyzstan, are authoritarian governments - use
the group to coordinate their efforts to stifle
political reform, efforts which often include violence
and torture. Russia is able through the SCO to
maintain control over its Central Asian interests,
which it has always guarded zealously against
perceived American encroachments. The largest
beneficiary by far, however, is China. SCO allows
them -through the inane niceties of "international
law" and the benefits afforded to treaty organizations
- to asymmetrically target American commercial and
security interests. At the same time, their hold over
immensely significant natural resources and strategic
territory increases exponentially through the
complicity of their allies. Rather than directly
confronting America over Central Asia, China can
combat it by convenient proxy.

All is not lost, however. Democracy, or at least a
primitive form of it, is bubbling to the surface after
a decade of widespread economic mismanagement and
authoritarian rule. Recent events in Kyrgyzstan have
shown other Central Asian dictators just how tenuous
their grip on power actually is. Kazakhstan, for one,
remains relatively open to the West and has displayed
at least an initial willingness to cooperate with the
United States on numerous matters relating to
international relations and economic reform. The
United States should take advantage of these
overtures, as well as the democratic developments in
Kyrgyzstan, and begin to develop its own Central Asian
bulwark, one less dependent on the edicts handed down
by the politburo in Beijing. As part of this overall
effort, the U.S. should extend increased economic aide
and military cooperation to both the governments of
Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. At the same time, we
should look for ways to escape our relationship with
the odious regime of Islam Karimov, as our presence
has only served to strengthen his hand. The
importance of these efforts should not be understated,
as effectively ceding the strategically valuable
region of Central Asia to the likes of Karimov and his
Chinese allies at the SCO would be a disastrous turn
of events.


Patrick Devenny is the Henry M. Jackson National
Security Fellow at the Center for Security Policy in
Washington D.C.