“A friend is never known till a man has need.” — Chinese proverb
Following the 2017 Astana Summit, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) held its 18th summit in Qingdao, PRC, confirming swift developments in the new world order’s formation.
Over 20 joint documents were signed between attendees, including the “Plan of Action for 2018-2022 to implement the Treaty on Long-Term Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation between SCO Member States,” a tentative guideline of ethics for cooperation.
Members also adopted a “Programme of Cooperation between the SCO Member States in Opposing Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism [Three Forces of Evil] for 2019-2021”.
Economically, participants also approved strengthening cooperation and denouncing protectionism via a joint communique on simplifying trade procedures. Furthermore, another statement vowed to tackle epidemics as
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), viral [hemorrhagic] fevers (VHF), cholera and other particularly dangerous infectious diseases.
Future SCO women’s forums and film festivals were proposed to inject fresh ideas from underrepresented demographics and promote cultural exchanges. A subsequent 2018 SCO Regional Heads’ Forum will take place in Chelyabinsk, Russian Federation.
The organisation, one of the world’s largest trans-regional security alliances, added Pakistan and India to its roster. SCO General-Secretariat Rashid Alimov proclaimed that the organisation was now “washed by three oceans [and] home to almost a half of the world’s population.”
“After [they] joined the SCO, the Organisation became stronger, received new opportunities and expanded its potential,” he mentioned on the sidelines.
Chinese president Xi Jinping was also positive during a pre-summit gala dinner.
The SCO has become an important regional security force, promoting cooperative development and improving the global governance system,
He stated, “Let’s make the Qingdao summit our new start.”
He later reaffirmed his sentiments in a June 10 joint press conference, attesting that “security is the foundation for sustainable development of the SCO.”
Russian president Vladimir Putin seconded Xi’s comments,
We confirmed the high level of our relations with China and agreed […] to boost cooperation in the area of politics and the fight against various threats, [which] is very important because while we have a lot of everyday work to do, we should bear in mind the main areas of our cooperation [within] international organizations such as the UN, the G20, BRICS and the SCO.
The immensely productive summit poured the foundation for a new superstate based on shared cultures, challenges, and short to long-term aspirations, for the benefit of all.
Three new dialectical processes have emerged from the culmination of the SCO’s efforts to reshape the world, shattering conventional understandings of international security.
- Strength through diversity
SCO leaders agree that global challenges can only be solved through diplomacy, mutualism, inclusion, and ingenuity. Cooperative models of supranational government facilitate this, synthesising diverse perspectives into holistic solutions to resolve crises, rather than the US’s unilateral balancing act between creating or exploiting crises and coercive realpolitik.
To achieve this, the Chinese Communist Party infuses dialectical materialism with empirical knowledge of the Five Constant Factors within Sun Tzu’s treatise “The Art of War”, along with the I-Ching, Confucianism, and Daoism as “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics”.
People’s Republic of China founder Mao Zedong understood this well, noting the synchronicity of contradictions prevalent in proletarian revolution, mentioning that,
There are many contradictions in the course of development of any major thing [which] cannot be treated in the same way since each has its own particularity [and] cannot be treated in the same way since each aspect has its own characteristics. [We] should not only understand the particularity of these contradictions in their totality, that is, in their interconnections, but should also study the two aspects of each contradiction as the only means of understanding the totality.
This creates a fluid, analogous approach rather than causative stratagem prevalent in Western bourgeois politics. Doing so helps progress the SCO into a harmonious proto-socialist framework.
Ch. 5, clause 6 within the Art of War states that,
Indirect tactics, efficiently applied, are inexhaustible as Heaven and Earth, unending as the flow of rivers and streams; like the sun and moon, they end but to begin anew; like the four seasons, they pass away to return once more.
These tactics are paramount to building the superstate based on trust, communication, material prosperity, and consistency, and not coercion.
CGTN analyst Zou Yue asserted that,
The best security is mutual. Be it territorial, economic or social, no country is able to go it alone and be secure. And no one likes a bully who is always winning by forcing hands. [A] lot of people saw one at the G7 gathering in Quebec. But in Qingdao, the parties tried to play a different game.
Additionally, SCO leaders are considered “generals” tasked with building the superstate. One cannot stress enough how important this is, which Ch. 3, clause 11 defines accordingly,
…the general is the bulwark of the State; if the bulwark is complete at all points; the State will be strong; if the bulwark is defective, the State will be weak.
As the SCO gestates, this superstate will defend against imperialist backlash, which will increase exponentially as productive forces increase throughout the New Silk Road. Dialectically, the dying hegemonic US will fight tooth and nail to maintain global supremacy as the new order rises.
USSR founder Vladimir Lenin mentioned this critical period where the bourgeoisie double down “in order to overcome the resistance […] in their fight to maintain their domination.”
[The] SCO itself must survive and can only thrive by being good at managing complexity. More than at anytime in history, humans need a fair world order. Institution-building has to catch up and the SCO could midwife a new order.
Therefore, the SCO will inevitably coalesce into multilateral state force on behalf of the Belt and Road Initiative, capable of securing it.
- The “3 C’s: Concentration, Centralisation, and Cooperation”
The SCO, again, fosters security in a holistic manner by harmonising the means of production on the Asian continent and then safeguarding it externally, from attackers and internally, from disagreements and contradictions.
In a 2016 meeting in Bishkik, Kyrgyzstan, Chinese premiere Li Keqiang advocated boosting regional trade and investment, hoping that “industrial capacity cooperation between countries could serve as the main pillar for regional trade and economic growth for SCO members.”
Regarding capital, NATO members employ state (military and bureaucratic) force to thrust and hold Western capital violently onto unwilling countries, whereas the SCO defends national capital and repels attacks on its vast infrastructures.
Metaphorically, the former advances capital with rape, whilst the latter uses consent.
In its current embryonic stage, the SCO forms a protective “shell” around capital from the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and countless investors, and then centralises and concentrates it under Chinese leadership.
ICBC president Gu Shu stressed that SCO members are not merely military bedfellows, but “are also quite ‘complimentary’, economically”. The ICBC has invested over 14.6 bin USD in SCO countries, which “is of strategic importance to [the bank’s] international operation.”
Developing productive forces resolves the primary contradiction of Chinese (and additionally Asian, Eurasian, and African) society, which president Xi addressed during his prolific Oct. 2017 speech, stating that China’s prime contradiction was “between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life”.
Mao reiterated that:
The contradiction between society and nature is resolved by the method of developing the productive forces.
The AIIB is attempting to accomplish this by resolving this primary contradiction and later, growing harmoniously with the global population as its secondary contradiction. BRI investors are not limited to nation-states and need the immense Asian market to alienate their capital and products to, which guarantees long-term and stable returns on investment (ROIs). As they increase productive forces throughout the BRI, three grand ‘shifts’ will occur:
- From speculative financial instruments to objects of use value (infrastructure, tech, etc.)
- From global financial institutions in transatlantic centres to the Asian continent
- From global hegemony to multilateralism on a political, economic, military, and social basis
- The primary contradiction: CPEC as the primary doorway to Central Asia
Logistics have been prioritised in the Belt and Road Initiative, General-Secretariat Alimov highlighted in an interview, stating,
We are now preparing the SCO transportation ministers’ meeting and will discuss plans to co-develop and improve transportation infrastructures between the SCO members. The transportation system will be lifted to a higher level with India and Pakistan becoming member states of the SCO. The coordination in the transportation system will better serve economic and trade cooperation within the SCO framework. This will also benefit [neighbouring] nations such as Turkmenistan, Belarus and the ASEAN countries.
The AIIB has published its own findings in its draft assessment, “Sustainable and Integrated Transport for Trade and Economic Growth in Asia”, and actively seeks contributors from 10 May – 4 July. A detailed transport study was released in May.
Prior to the SCO summit, Russia and China signed numerous bilateral agreements to harmonise their foreign policies, build a roadmap for North Korea, secure the Middle East, and coordinate on defence and economic strategies, clearing the way for this infrastructure into multiple regions.
This is especially important because Russia and China agree that the Belt and Road Initiative cannot be realised without a secure Koreas, Afghanistan and Pakistan, in addition to protecting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) in Iran. Pakistan and India’s full SCO induction ensures a viable platform for negotiations in the (documented) presence of regional members.
This falls into line with China’s Community of Shared Future for Mankind objectives, which,
…calls on all countries to abandon the outdated mindset of seeking alliance or confrontation, act along the trend of the times, treat each other as equals, value consultation and mutual understanding, and explore partnerships that are inclusive and constructive instead of targeting at an imagined enemy or any third party.
The world looks forward to realising this new ordering of a multi-polar world as it goes from strength to strength.