Thursday, January 10, 2008

LECTURE- Rise of the SCO in Central Asia: Western Foreign Policy Reactions, Alexander Cooley, SRC-AUCA, Jan. 16

Distrib. by: Central-Eurasia-L - Announcement List for Central Eurasian Studies

LECTURE- Rise of the SCO in Central Asia: Western Reactions, SRC-AUCA, Jan. 16

Posted by: Alexander I. Pugachev <>

Social Research Center at American University of Central Asia
( presents:

Lecture: "The Rise of the SCO in Central Asia: Western Foreign Policy

Speaker: Alexander Cooley, Ph.D, Columbia University, USA

Time: 17.00, January 16th, 2008

Venue: 315, AUCA (Main Building)

Language: English (Interpretation into Russian will be arranged, if

Abstract: The rise of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as a main
regional organization in Central Asia is drawing increasing concern and
criticism in Western foreign policy establishments. Since its 2005 summit
declarations, when the organization declared that US military bases in
Central Asia should be removed now that their original mission in
Afghanistan has been completed, Western analysts have viewed the SCO as a
threat to Western interests in Central Asia. Specifically, the SCO is viewed
as a regional organization through which Russia and China can exert pressure
on the smaller Central Asian states to promote their regional interests and
check the influence of the United States. Western observers are also
concerned about the group's potential as an Energy Club and Iran's potential
membership in the organization. This lecture argues against this prevailing
view that sees the SCO as an anti-American military alliance. Rather, I will
argue that the true role of the SCO lies in providing necessary regional
public goods for the Central Asian states, but doing so in a way that does
not involve itself in the internal decision-making or domestic politics of
member countries. Unlike Western organizations operating in the region such
as the OSCE, the World Bank or the EU, the SCO is fostering cooperative
initiatives without placing political or economic conditions on member
states. Accordingly, the author concludes that the SCO, from the Western
perspective, does challenge Western interests in the region, but not as a
military alliance. Rather, the SCO undermines the influence and authority of
Western international organizations that traditionally have performed
regional functions such as monitoring elections, promoting human rights,
funding large developmental projects and providing humanitarian assistance.

Bio: Alexander Cooley is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Barnard
College and Columbia University's School of International and Public
Affairs. He earned both his M.A. (1995) and Ph.D. (1999) from Columbia
University. Cooley is the author of several books and scholarly articles
that examine the international relations of the post-Soviet states, with a
focus on Central Asia. His first book, Logics of Hierarchy (Cornell
University Press 2005), examined Soviet legacies in Central Asia and was
awarded the 2006 Marshall Shulman Prize by the American Association for the
Advancement for Slavic Studies (AASS) for outstanding book on the
international relations of the post-Communist states. His new book - Base
Politics: Democratic Change and the U.S. Military Overseas (Cornell
University Press, 2008)- examines the domestic politics surrounding U.S.
overseas military bases in East Asia, Southern Europe and the post-Communist
states (including Kyrgyzstan).

In addition to his academic work, Professor Cooley has published articles in
Foreign Affairs magazine and has contributed opinion pieces to the New York
Times and International Herald Tribune. He has been a Transatlantic Fellow
with the German Marshall Fund in Brussels (2005) and an International
Security Fellow with the Smith Richardson Foundation (2007). Cooley also
taught a class at the American University in Kyrgyzstan in 1998.

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