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Friday, September 14, 2007      New: Take a Stand

What is Shanghai alliance up to? U.S. unsure

Evan Feigenbaum, deputy assistant secretary of state for south and central Asian affairs.
The State Department does not understand why China continues to exclude the United States from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a State Department official said last week, despite intelligence indicating that the SCO is being used by Beijing to drive the United States out of Central Asia.

Evan Feigenbaum, deputy assistant secretary of state for south and central Asian affairs, said in a speech to the Nixon Center: “We don't fully understand what the Shanghai Cooperation Organization does.”

The SCO, formed in 2001 by China and Russia, also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It recently held a joint military exercise that deliberately excluded the United States, which had asked to observe the war games in Western China and Russia.

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U.S. intelligence officials said the SCO revealed its true strategic objective in 2004 when it passed a resolution calling for the United States to remove its military bases in central Asia.

The resolution was watered down at the last minute through the diplomatic efforts of pro-U.S. Kazakhstan.

Feigenbaum attacked critics of the SCO who said the organization was bad for the United States.

“And so we in the United States are still struggling to sort fact from fiction, to distinguish statements from actions, and to differentiate what is good for our interests from what might be rather less productive,” he said.

“But we also know at least some of what the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is not. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is not a new Warsaw Pact. Because while the Pact permitted Soviet troops and bases across the territory of its members, Central Asian states are, in fact, asserting their sovereignty and independence.”

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