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Global Insider: SCO Expansion

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Last month, members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) met to discuss new rules for admission to the regional security group. In an e-mail interview, head of the Asia practice group at Eurasia Group and adjunct senior fellow for Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations, Evan A. Feigenbaum, discusses the evolution of the SCO.

WPR: What is the significance of the SCO's newly articulated membership procedure, and what does it reflect about the organization's approach to future expansion?

Evan Feigenbaum: At their June 11 summit in Tashkent, the six SCO heads of state approved new rules for applications and admissions that will enable the group to expand. The decision wasn't much of a surprise -- the SCO was already bringing in other countries as "observers" and "dialogue partners." But at the end of the day, expansion is almost certain to make a fragmented organization more incoherent still. There are quite a lot of cheerleaders for SCO expansion, especially in Russia and China. They argue that bigger is better, because by bringing in India, for instance, the group would boost its economic power and global reach. ...

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