When Russia, China and four Central Asian countries signed an agreement to establish the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in 2001, few imagined that it would become one of the most important organizations facilitating the emergence of ‘a multipolar world order, not least because two decades ago the United States was still enjoying its “unipolar moment”.
In Russia, a new president still struggled to cope with changing internal and external situations and domestic instability, with U.S.-Chinese relations developing positively and the United States supporting China’s candidacy for membership. ‘World organization of commerce. In such a context, the creation of the SCO was seen as a new attempt to foster regional cooperation in Central Asia which would not have significant consequences for the world.
What is the world like at the end of 2021, the 20th year of the formation of the OCS?
Much has changed since 2001, since the American invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, the “Color Revolutions” in some former Soviet republics, the Russia-Georgia war in 2008, the financial crisis world, the “Arab Spring”, the Western military intervention in Libya, the civil war in Syria and the rise and fall of the Islamic State group, to the Ukrainian crisis, to the trade war launched by the United States. United against China and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. These developments have dealt a serious blow to the Western claim for the “end of history” and world domination of “liberal democracy”, marking the end of the “unipolar moment” of the United States.
The world has entered the unknown waters of transformation and instability, with no sign of what the post-unipolar world might look like. But one thing is certain, the emerging world order will be a multipolar order with at least five leading players: the United States, China, Russia, the European Union and India. Another feature of the emerging world order is the “regionalization of globalization”, with intraregional political and economic relationships and institutions playing an increasingly important role.
The future multipolar world could be based either on the principle of “war against all” precipitating an era of permanent instability and conflicts between the various poles reminiscent of the global situations which preceded the First and the Second World War, or on the vision of true multilateralism. The latter means that the major global players maintain constant communication and hold regular discussions based on the Charter of the United Nations to chart the future direction of the world.
As for the process of “regionalization of globalization”, it will considerably increase the role of regional organizations and initiatives to ensure stability and establish platforms for dialogue between regional actors.
As an emerging world power, China plays a pivotal role in shaping the emerging world order. And with that in mind, he urged his partner economies to champion multilateralism, to follow the path of dialogue rather than confrontation, and to promote inclusiveness instead of adopting self-centered policies at a time when the world is facing to new and serious challenges.
These ideas resonate in many capitals, which are fed up with confrontation and do not want to be caught up in a possible new cold war between the great powers. Therefore, China should deepen and expand diplomatic relations with developed and developing countries to promote its development agenda. He also needs to create more channels to share his views on critical issues with the international community and fight anti-Chinese propaganda.
Many Western governments and media are disseminating notions such as “debt diplomacy” and the “Chinese threat” theory to spread anti-Chinese sentiments across the world, including in Africa, in parts of the country. Asia, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics. China must therefore ensure that the SCO, Belt and Road Initiative and other regional and global development initiatives play a leading role in neutralizing the negative effects of such propaganda.
China should also pay more attention to public diplomacy and modernize the functioning of its embassies and other institutions working abroad, especially because Chinese aid to other countries is not properly highlighted.
In recent years, the SCO has expanded its membership and role to become an important platform for dialogue in Eurasia. The inclusion of India, Pakistan and recently Iran has transformed the SCO into an organization capable of dealing with complex regional issues.
Many other Eurasian countries have cooperated with the SCO as observers or dialogue partners, making the organization an invaluable platform for China to strengthen diplomatic relations with other states. The success of the SCO is certain, due to the agreement of its members that the “unipolar world order” is over and that the new world order should be multipolar.
In addition, China should engage more actively with other Belt and Road partner countries through the “Digital Silk Road”, “Health Silk Road” and other similar programs to deepen diplomatic engagements with them. And given the growing scale of anti-China propaganda, the SCO, as a multilateral platform, should serve as an important channel to disseminate accurate information about China and its policies and to establish ‘true multilateralism a reality.
The author is President of the Center for Strategic Political and Economic Studies, Yerevan, Armenia. Opinions do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.