Maintaining international stability is an important component of SCO cooperation for security. However, SCO keeps highlighting the antiterrorist cooperation with principal focus on fighting “the three evil forces» and pays rather little attention to keeping public stability within the cooperation for security that is to avoid convulsions and political upheavals.
Moreover, the development of the relevant cooperation mechanism and capacities fall behind notably. Though the antiterrorist cooperation includes regional security and stability as well, it does not cover other spheres of stability protection. Last year, Kirgizia saw violent public disorders; this year, the situation in West Asia and North Africa is getting more complicated. In such circumstances, the cooperation for keeping public stability is getting more important and topical for SCO. SCO member countries should also take active measures in this respect.
“Three evil forces”
Strengthening the cooperation for public stability complies with the principles of SCO. SCO was established due to the negotiations of “five countries and two parties” that considered reduction of the frontier armed forces and improvement of the mutual confidence in terms of military. The root goal of this organization is to maintain peace and stability in the region. Apart from SCO cooperation in economics, politics and humanity, the cooperation for security and stability has always been topical. And this cooperation does not refer to any kind of military alliance.
Sole struggle against “the three evil forces” is far from enough for reliable security and stability in the region. Since the day it was established, SCO has actively pursued its mission of maintaining security and stability in the region by means of such measures as regional antiterrorist structures’ operations, joint counter-terrorist maneuvers, antiterrorist information exchange etc. The organization seriously struck “the three evil forces” and erected an efficient barrier against their unbridled activities. These actions played a most prominent role in keeping the regional stability on the whole.
In summarizing SCO’s significant achievements over 10 years, we can appreciate, highly appreciate its activities. Still, many spheres in SCO region are subjected to instability. Apart from “the three evil forces” and the serious effect of the Afghan instability, the region security is exposed to other considerable instability factors. On the one hand, the new independent states miss governance experience. This period is marked with various contradictions; an imperfect regime gives rise to corruption and unfair income distribution. Different groups of the political elite collide, the slow economic development provokes public displeasure, the contradictions between the regions and ethnic groups spark population conflicts easily. On the other hand, the instability is also caused by external forces’ intervention in the home affairs of the countries, blind adoption of western democracy with no previous democratic base in the country, territorial disputes over land and marine areas. The SCO antiterrorist cooperation by no means always can cope with all these problems.
The disorders in West Asia and North Africa sound the alarm in SCO. The disorders occurring and spreading in West Asia and North Africa prove that violent disorders, inspired by external forces or easily attracting their intervention, make especially sensible impact on the regional stability. The upheaval factors in these regions are very complex. Among the important inherent causes is the longterm accumulation of numerous internal public contradictions followed by concentrated outbursts. Another public irritant in these regions is the long-term intrusion of the western countries, their open or secret activities.
Though Central Asia has sustained the «color revolution» and now these regions are immune in certain degree, the social contradictions of most SCO countries are not so obvious as in West Asia and North Africa. Nevertheless, SCO members and the West-Asian and North-African countries have quite similar formations in politic, social and economic spheres, so one should not exclude the possibility that the social contradictions in SCO countries, when encouraged by the western forces, will evolve into social disturbance.
The large-scale upheaval in Kirgizia in 2005 and last year were typical examples of this kind. What is more dangerous is that the penetration and provocations by some western countries have already become nothing less than a political and armed intervention. Their goal is clear: to exploit the internal contradictions of relevant countries, rouse political disturbances there, establish pro-western government, expand their geopolitical, geoeconomical and other interests.
This «new idea of interference» is spreading influence through West Asia and North Africa, thus posing serious threat to the global security and composure. Russia’s and China’s membership in SCO prevents the western countries from implementing everything they would in respect of SCO countries and their home affairs. Still, with account of the serious imbalance in the international strategic structure and SCO missing unanimity and mechanisms to remedy disorders, the interference of the western countries is hard to exclude. Against the new challenges, sole efforts against “the three evil forces” are not enough to save the regional composure and stability. It is necessary to draw new front lines in terms of prevention of social upheavals and political disturbances. It plays an important role in the maintenance of security and stability in the region.
So, while going on with the continuous struggle against “the three evil forces”, SCO should come to unanimity and establish a relevant mechanism. SCO should pursue to «the spirit of Shanghai» and the new idea of «common security”.
The «common security» means both that the countries do not threaten to each other and, what is more important, that they shall cooperate in securing the internal stability and counteract external threats. Against the common security challenges to SCO members, they should support and assist each other, instead of standing aloof referring to various excuses. The Central Asian countries are not enough strong to counteract disturbances; so SCO should promote international friendship and elimination of instability factors. An SCO member must not be left alone to deal with its problems and the western countries must not be allowed to do whatever they want. What is needed is a definite stance and commitment to UN international security principle: “non-interference in a sovereign state’s domestic affairs”. Especial commitment to this UN resolution must be shown in counteracting and preventing armed interferences in sovereign states’ affairs under the pretext of struggle against a “humanitarian disaster”. SCO should assist to the interested parties in preventing conflicts and improving their resistibility to disorders. China and Russia, as UN permanent member, should assume responsibility for the security and stability in their regions.
New mechanisms Wanted
SCO still misses wellestablished mechanism to prevent social upheavals and politic disturbances. The mechanism for quick coordination and announcement is imperfect too. This situation has to be rectified as soon as possible. Relevant legislative acts need to be developed, judicial obstacles need to be removed and corresponding mechanisms need to be strengthened. The circumstances also demand combined promotion of social harmony; for example, a mechanism of experience exchange in the domain of social management, a mechanism of joint use of the information related to social stability, a mechanism of support in social-economic development. A mechanism for public disturbance suppression is also wanted.
For example, if a certain country is stricken with disturbances, it will trigger the mechanism of information exchange, quick coordination and cooperative peacekeeping (as demonstrated by the joint maneuvers by SCO members). SCO may consider establishment of an internal structure to keep “stability and coordination in terms of security”; this structure will be entitled to collect information concerning stability-keeping, design stability-keeping measures, organize relevant training and maneuvers, manage joint operations for stability-keeping etc. If some social disorders are unleashed in a SCO country, the Organization must immediately actuate the relevant mechanism and actively participate in discussing and settling the problem. What is essential is to exclude bloodshed, so third forces could not find a reason for invasion. When necessary, SCO may consider a request from the legitimate government of an interested state, promptly make corresponding decision and take actions to stop the conflicts and preserve peace and stability.
To this end, SCO has to settle two corresponding problems. First - the problem of the absolute principle of «non-interference in the internal affairs of other states». SCO members should come to unanimity concerning the measures SCO will take in case of disorders in some SCO country. For the benefits of its own country and collective benefits of SCO, an interested party shall welcome the measures SCO takes to keep stability in the given country.
Another problem is the relations between SCO and CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization). Both organizations exist in the same strategic dimensions and bear common responsibility for the security and stability in Central Asia. Therefore, they should cooperate in open manner and avoid rivalry. The significance of CSTO may be promoted in the military actions for cooperative stability-keeping and the role of SCO may grow in the coordination of the national stances in the essential security-related issues. The two organizations should establish a mechanism of regular harmonization, coordinate their positions and actions in settling the important problems of regional security.
The cooperation in saving social stability is closely related to current stability and security in the regions and to the future of SCO. SCO should be active in this sphere, as remaining sluggish may result in a serious crisis.