Is the Collective Security Treaty Organization the Real Anti-NATO?

Is the Collective Security Treaty Organization the Real Anti-NATO?

Although Western attention has focused on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as a potential threat to Western influence in Eurasia, another institution, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), currently represents a more serious near-term challenge.

Last October, the leaders of the CSTO convened one of their most important summits in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. The assembled presidents and senior staff reached several important decisions that testify to the CSTO's expanding regional security ambitions. First, they adopted procedures formally authorizing members to conduct joint peacekeeping operations. Second, by reaffirming Moscow's willingness to sell arms to its CSTO allies on a subsidized basis, Russia has enhanced its dominant position in regional security affairs. Finally, the CSTO principals agreed to establish formal security ties with the SCO, creating the potential for substantial security cooperation between the two institutions for years to come.

At Dushanbe, the leaders of the CSTO signed over 20 documents. These concerned such issues as conducting collective military operations, managing migration flows, and countering narcotics trafficking, terrorism, and other forms of transnational organized crime. Their most important agreement involved the establishment of a joint CSTO peacekeeping force. The Russian government had been pushing for the creation of such a force since 2003, but it took Moscow several years to overcome the reluctance of other CSTO members to make such a commitment.

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