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Digest | Sep 17, 2021
Post | Sep 15, 2021
If geopolitics abhors vacuums, then who will fill the void created by the U.S. departure from Afghanistan? One player that may be in a position to fill some of that void is the Shanghai Security Organization (SCO), in my view. Since its prototype was established in 1996, the SCO has evolved into a viable organization for regional security and defense cooperation, and there is no doubt that most, if not all, of its members, share an urgent interest in keeping instability from spilling over from Afghanistan. However, while the SCO should be expected to try to act on that collective interest, it is doubtful that any of its members, even leading giants Russia and China, will be able to fully fill the shoes left by the U.S. and its allies in Afghanistan.  

The change of power in Kabul has been quite abrupt, catching many regional watchers off guard, as evidenced, for instance, by a commentary published by the Diplomat in mid-July arguing that it was time for the SCO to accommodate the Ashraf Ghani government’s requests for Afghanistan to join the organization. In the wake of the subsequent demise of Ghani’s regime and the arrival of the Taliban in Kabul, there is hardly a neighboring country left that would not be interested in joining forces with some of the regional powers to defend themselves from threats emanating from the (yet again) destabilized Afghanistan. Individual SCO members are no exception, and there is no doubt they will devote the lion’s share of their Sept. 16-17 summit in Dushanbe to the Afghanistan formulating a collective strategy to respond to these threats. These threats include a deadly resurgence of al-Qaida, the Islamic State and other jihadist groups, a dramatic increase in the transit of refugees, and continued drug trafficking.
Analysis | Sep 15, 2021
The authorities are faced with the fiendish task of convincing democratic-minded voters that there is no point in voting, while making every effort to boost turnout among the conformist, state-dependent electorate.
Analysis | Sep 14, 2021
While schadenfreude and strategic anti-U.S. messaging is the most visible aspect of Russia’s immediate response, Moscow’s more material concerns—including regional instability and the spread of radical Islamic terrorism—should not be understated.
Analysis | Sep 12, 2021
In this episode of the SRB podcast, Michael Kofman and Dmitry Gorenburg discuss recent developments in the Russian military.
Digest | Sep 10, 2021
Analysis | Sep 09, 2021
Because the author considers the West’s Ukraine policies likely to end in backlash, he submits that they cannot be in the national interest of the United States.
Event | Sep 10, 2021
Join the Wilson Center for a panel discussion on what developments in Afghanistan mean for Russian and Chinese interests and for their relations with Afghanistan.
Analysis | Sep 09, 2021
Graham T. Allison, Paul Pillar and Jessica Stern discuss how the United States should deal with terrorism in the aftermath of its military withdrawal from Afghanistan and with friends and rivals abroad to secure vital security interests today.