A New Balance of Power for the Twenty-First Century: The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, 2001-2007


In September 1997, President Jiang Zemin stated that the multi-polarity trend contributed towards worldwide peace, stability and prosperity, while both hegemonism and the policy of Power were still a major threat to peace and international stability. A few years later, the new Russia of Vladimir Putin promoted a multi-polar system of international relations, claiming that the global order of the XXI century had to be based on mechanisms for the collective resolution of key problems. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, founded in 2001, pursued the so-called struggle against the "three evils", that is terrorism, separatism and extremism. Besides, the organisation managed to combine China, a massive world energy consumer, with high profile energy producers like Kazakhstan and an unmatched hydropower producer such as Tajikistan. On the other hand, Russia at the end of the second Putin mandate needed to make common cause with other Powers in order to exercise a serious influence in international affairs. Within such a scenario, the United States National Security Strategy of 2006 claimed that it was necessary to work closely with Russia on strategic issues of common interest. The Bush Administration also encouraged Beijing to continue down the road of reform and openness towards liberty, stability, and prosperity. Despite this, Chinese leaders were being accused of acting as if they could somehow "lock up" energy supplies around the world or seek to direct markets rather than opening them up.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22808949a9n1p5

Keywords: Eurasia; Multilateralism; Balance of Power; Asia-Pacific; New Cold War

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