IS SCO NEW WARSAW PACT OR MODERN-DAY HOLY ALLIANCE?
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) — whose full members are Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan — grabbed headlines last week with its annual summit in Bishkek and impressive military exercises in the Russian Urals Mountains. The exercises, dubbed Peace Mission 2007, brought together 6,000 mostly Russian and Chinese troops in an impressive display of firepower. With Russian relations with the West rapidly deteriorating and Chinese power on the rise, some are beginning to fear that the SCO is developing into a modern-day version of the Warsaw Pact. Indeed, Russia has ambitious plans for the SCO. Moscow has been interested in expanding the scope of the organization’s military cooperation to include formal security guarantees, and has also been working behind the scenes to expand the membership of the organization to include India, Pakistan, Mongolia, and Iran, which currently only have observer status. Strengthening the SCO is part of the Kremlin’