1st Edition

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Conflict De-escalation Trust Building and Interstate Rivalries

By James MacHaffie Copyright 2023
    178 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book’s main objective is to determine the role, if any, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) plays in de-escalating tensions among its members.

    It argues that the SCO is uniquely suited to keep its disparate members, many of whom have border disputes with each other, from escalating tensions among themselves. The book proposes a rivalry de-escalation model that differs from the standard belief that rivalries de-escalate due to a shock or external pressure. This model states that trust can be built between two rival states when confidence-building measures are instilled and utilized repeatedly over a long period of time. The SCO provides these mechanisms in the form of annual summits between state leaders and routine military exercises involving military units from every member. Examining three case studies involving the founding six members of the organization, the book argues that the SCO is effective in keeping rivalries de-escalated among its members.

    This book will be of much interest to students of Asian politics, regional security, and international relations.

    1. Introduction

    2. The Rivalry Conundrum in International Relations

    3. Trust Building in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

    4. The China-Russia Rivalry

    5. The Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan Rivalry

    6. The Complex Rivalry: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan

    7. Conclusion


    James MacHaffie is an independent researcher specializing in the Indo-Pacific region and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. He holds a PhD degree in international politics from the University of Leicester.

    "For too long the SCO has been neglected in scholarship on the role of multilateral organisations in mitigating international rivalries. James MacHaffie’s study is the perfect antidote to this. Through careful study and insightful analysis he demonstrates the ways in which the organisation has helped to de-escalate existing rivalries and build a modicum of trust between its member states. One of the many strengths of this book is that it looks closely at the structures and practices of the SCO and demonstrates in rich empirical detail how these have concrete effects on specific inter-state rivalries. Highly recommended reading."

    Benjamin Zala, Australian National University, Australia.