Shanghai Cooperation Organization — a nothingburger?


The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an annual forum for China, Russia, and a variety of Eurasian states to discuss political, economic, and security issues.

  • The SCO’s full members are China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, and Pakistan. Observer states are Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia.
  • The SCO meets this year in Qingdao on June 9 and 10. Xinhua News Agency says the agenda focuses on “measures to fight the ‘three evil forces’ of terrorism, extremism and separatism, drug trafficking, and cybercrime,” as well as “promoting the construction of the Belt and Road.”

Evan Feigenbaum, veteran diplomat and vice chairman of The Paulson Institute at the University of Chicago, tweeted: “The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit approaches. Here’s audio of a long interview about the SCO that I did with VOA’s Uzbek Service in 2016. To my mind, absolutely zero has changed. Bigger, more diffuse, and even less functional.” It’s worth listening to that whole interview for a crash course in why the SCO is unlikely to achieve much.