A tectonic geopolitical shift happened in Astana, Kazakhstan, only a few days ago, and yet barely a ripple registered in Atlanticist circles
At the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), founded in 2001, both India and Pakistan were admitted as full members, alongside Russia, China and four Central Asian “stans” (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan).
So now the SCO not only qualifies as the largest political organization – by area and population – in the world; it also unites four nuclear powers. The G-7 is irrelevant, as the latest summit in Taormina made it clear. The real action now, apart from the G-20, also lays in this alternative G-8.
Permanently derided in the West for a decade and a half as a mere talk shop, the SCO, slowly but surely, keeps advancing a set up that Chinese President Xi Jinping qualifies, in a subdued manner, as “a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation.”
That’s the least one can say when you have China, India and Pakistan in the same group.
The SCO’s trademark, under the radar game is quite subtle. The initial emphasis, as we were entering the post-9/11 world, was to fight what the Chinese qualify as “the three evils” of terrorism, separatism and extremism. Beijing – and Moscow – from the beginning were thinking about the Taliban in Afghanistan, and their Central Asian connections, especially via the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).
Now the SCO is actively warning about the security “deterioration” in Afghanistan and calling for all members to support the “peace and reconciliation” process. That’s code for the SCO from now on directly engaged in finding an “all-Asian” Afghan solution – with both India and Pakistan on board – that should transcend the failed Pentagon “remedy”; more troops.
NATO, by the way, miserably lost its war in Afghanistan. The Taliban control at least 60% of the country – and counting. And adding supreme insult to predictable injury, the Islamic State Khorasan (ISK) – Daesh’s branch in Afghanistan – has just captured Tora Bora, where way back in late 2001 the Pentagon’s B-52s were bombing already-escaped Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Make no mistake; there will be SCO action in Afghanistan. And that will include bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table. China has taken over the rotating presidency of the SCO and will be keen to show practical results in the next summit in June 2018.
Read more in original source: Sputnik