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№ 20 (64) October 2007
№ 19 (63) October 2007
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THE AUTHORS
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Oleg Panfilov,
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Dmitry Alyaev,
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alyaev[at]cjes.ru

Roman Zyuzin,
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Adil Dzhalilov,
Kazakhstan,
adild[at]list.ru

a diamond stylus,
Kyrgyzstan,
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Nargis Zokirova,
Tajikistan
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Lyudmila Burenkova,
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Elena Dorokhova,
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SCO: Tajikistan
Rashid G. Abdullo (Dushanbe)
The next one, this time the Bishkek summit of the SCO, as always caused a lot of questions. And as always, the question of what this organization is interesting for its members is one of the main ones. At the heart of this question lies bewilderment about what unites such dissimilar states as Russia and its Central Asian allies, on the one hand, China, on the other, and the observers - India Pakistan, Mongolia, on the third. The bewilderment is quite reasonable. The largest blocks of the last century, NATO and its antipode of the Warsaw Pact, were military-political alliances of countries that were united by a similar socio-economic system, common ideology, political and military tasks. Everything was clear, clear and understandable. In the case of the SCO, all this is not in sight.

At the same time, the SCO members are very active in their striving to strengthen the organization, which may indicate only one thing - each member of the organization finds in it what he is looking for. But each state is looking for it, as well as the country observers, something that meets its national interests. And although these interests differ among themselves, and, quite significantly, it does not seem so important for the SCO. Apparently, for the simple reason that these interests, at least among the large states that belong to the organization, do not stop and do not affect their fundamental interests. For now at least.

Obviously, for Russia and China, the main thing in being within the framework of the SCO is to acquire the ability to more effectively secure their geopolitical interests. First of all, in the increasingly tough political and military confrontation with the United States and the West. For China, participation in the SCO also provides good opportunities for advancing its economic interests, particularly in the countries of Central Asia. Assistance not only on a bilateral basis, but also within the framework of the SCO in the socio-economic development of the Central Asian countries is of equal importance for them.

Such assistance, firstly, allows the PRC to strengthen its economic and, consequently, political presence in the region. Secondly, what is no less, and maybe more important for the Chinese, is to ensure the security of the territories adjacent to the western borders of their country. They rightly believe that the assistance to the countries of Central Asia in socio-economic development strengthens the social political stability of the countries of the region and that can not but have a positive effect on the situation with stability and security in their own western regions populated by Muslims. Kazakhstan, whose development is gaining more and more momentum, participation in the SCO makes it possible to solve such an important and, to some extent, geopolitical task for it, as the diversification of its own foreign policy and foreign economic opportunities.

In Bishkek, the heads of state talked about threats of international terrorism, religious extremism, drug trafficking. They also spoke about the unacceptability of the hegemony of one state in the modern world, naturally, implying this hegemon of the United States. But to be realistic, at this time, international terrorists do not threaten Tajikistan. The implication is that in the republic they may find themselves across the southern border. In fact, only drug dealers can be active on this side. The problem of religious extremism is an internal problem and is connected, first of all, how not only socio-economic, but also political issues are solved in each country. If they are solved adequately to the emerging objective trends in the development of the country, then the question of religious extremism, which is also very controversial in connection with the vague content of this very concept, is resolved by itself.

The presence of the United States, the West in Afghanistan and Central Asia, so far has no negative significance for Tajikistan. Moreover, such a presence and even its strengthening helps to ensure the national interests of the republic, both political and economic. Firstly, since Tajikistan gained independence, the United States has in fact been a kind of guarantor. Unlike other large states, they constantly emphasize their interest in the independent existence of Tajikistan, which fully meets its interests. The United States has never tried to turn the unresolved political issues, such as holding elections to Western standards, which is not objectively possible anywhere in the CIS countries into an instrument of political pressure. They are well aware that the pressure in these issues will turn for them in Tajikistan with political losses that are completely unacceptable to them in the current situation, when they are bogged down in Afghanistan. Finally, the American and, in general, the Western presence in reasonable limits of sufficiency, not infringing upon the political interests of Russia and China in the region, creates conditions for competition, which has a beneficial effect on the possibility of attracting Russian, Chinese and Iranian investments in important economic projects for Tajikistan. And even if there are sources of political danger for the republic, then they have to look for them in the usual post-Soviet space.

Accordingly, Tajikistan, by participating in the SCO, seeks to find a solution for tasks that are much more prosaic in nature, primarily to attract investment in economic projects. In many respects, it was this circumstance that caused the appeal of the President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, to unite efforts in restoring the economy of Afghanistan. One way or another, investments in the development of the Afghan economy will also be an investment in the development of the Tajik economy, primarily in the development of hydropower and the road and transport network. The same can be explained by E. Rakhmon’s suggestion to create an investment fund within the SCO, the funds from which can be used to implement economic projects in the poorest countries of the SCO, which is Tajikistan. Naturally, any ideas related to the development of energy - the adoption of the Energy Charter, the creation of an energy exchange, etc. meet the interests of the republic.

Naturally, Tajikistan is also very interested in the development of military cooperation within the framework of the SCO, because such cooperation really helps to strengthen its defense potential, which in the conditions of a certain tension in interstate relations between the countries of Central Asia is far from over. Moreover, Tajikistan hopes that participation in the SCO will prevent the transformation of this tension into a military conflict of varying intensity.
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