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NASA imagery of Asia

Shifting alliances in Asia mean the waning of US global power.

The days of unilateral global governance by ‘benevolent” empire, aka USA, are coming to an end. The growing alliance between Russia and China and the prospect of new trade deals done in rubles, yuan, or a basket of other currencies rather than the dollar portend a changing world. Here are a few organizations that will become increasingly important as the globe becomes multipolar.


BRICs is an acronym for four of the world’s largest emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, and China. The acronym was created in 2001 by an employee of Goldman Sachs and is now used as “symbol of the shift in global economic power away from the developed G7 economies to the developing nations”. BRIC nations held their first summit in 2009 to discuss improvment of global economic conditions, reform of financial institutions, and forging an alliance. BRIC countries discussed how emerging nations might become more influential in global affairs. One stated objective of the BRIC nations is to find a new global reserve currency to challenge the dollar that is “diversi?ed, stable and predictable.”

South Africa joined BRIC in 2010, changing the acronym to BRICs.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

SCO is the East’s answer to NATO. SCO is a spinoff of the Shanghai Five, an organization created to demilitarize the Russia/China border, and it is concerned with the problem of security in China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. SCO activities include military cooperation and intelligence sharing to combat terrorism, separatism, and extremism in the region. More recently, SCO has added crime, drug trafficking and cyberwarfare to areas of interest. Observer nations include Iran, India, and Pakistan. Iran has requested membership.

Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)

Descended from the former Soviet nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States, CSTO is a military alliance of Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Much like NATO, CSTO considers an attack on one member an attack on all. In 2009, CSTO created the Collective Rapid Reaction Force to repulse military aggression on member nations, fight terrorism, and to combat transnational crime and drug trafficking. Iran is a potential future member.

Eurasian Economic Union (EuEU)

The EuEU is an agreement between Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus signed last week to create a free trade zone and common market in Central Asia modeled on the European Union. While only three countries joined at the initial signing, several additional CIS nations are expected to join including Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. One important feature of EuEU is the creation of a single Eurasian market for petroleum, petroleum products, and electricity. It should be noted that prior to Euromaidan, Ukraine was pressured by the west to integrate with the European Union while Moscow wanted Ukraine to join the EuEU. When Ukraine rejected closer ties to the EU, Yanukovych was forced from office and his successor, Yatsenyuk, rejected integration with the EuEU.

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Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons.