Wednesday, April 19, 2006


The G8, NATO, SCO and Iran

A report on April 18 in the Asia Times Online.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which maintained it had no plans for expansion, is now changing course. Mongolia, Iran, India and Pakistan, which previously had observer status, will become full members. SCO's decision to welcome Iran into its fold constitutes a political statement. Conceivably, SCO would now proceed to adopt a common position on the Iran nuclear issue at its summit meeting June 15.

The timing of the statement of Iran's full membership of SCO is significant. It comes a couple of weeks before the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency is due to report to the United Nations Security Council on Iran's compliance with the IAEA resolutions. The SCO is expected to adopt a common "energy strategy", jointly undertaking pipeline projects, oil exploration and related activities.

So far NATO has ignored SCO. . . If it recognizes that SCO has a habitation and a name (in Central Asia, South Asia and the Gulf), then, what about NATO's claim as the sole viable global security arbiter in the 21st century? NATO would then be hard-pressed to explain the raison d'etre of its expansion into the territories of the former Soviet Union.

Update on 15 June 2006

1. Russia warns against NATO taking in former Soviet Ukraine and Georgia

2. Communique of 2006 SCO summit
Contrary to the speculation above, no full members were created at the SCO summit. The heads of state also entrusted the Council of National Coordinators to make recommendations on the procedure of SCO membership enlargement. . . The next meeting of the Council of Heads of State will be held in Bishkek in 2007.

Monday, April 03, 2006


Global energy security - a role for the military

Has NATO a role in energy security?.

An update today:

Nato looks to create a global partnership

Nato is planning to strengthen its strategic and military ties with Australia, New Zealand, Finland and Sweden in a move that could give it a role far outside its traditional geographical influence.

The initiative, led by Washington and supported by Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Nato secretary-general, would help reinforce the USled alliance’s political and military credentials at a time when these have come under scrutiny. The US would like to see regular Nato "forums" with other countries such as Australia, New Zealand and, later, Japan and South Korea.

The plans are set to be discussed at a Nato foreign ministers’ meeting in Sofia this month and at a summit in Riga in November.

The NATO-Russia Council was established in 2002.

But should the rules for global energy security prevent assets being nationalised? Because more than three-quarters of the world’s oil reserves are already controlled by national oil companies, according to a hearing in the US Senate.

Energy security - in case the G8 fails

Increasing the security against global energy disruptions involves more countries than the G8. The Institute for International Economics recommend (number 4 below) increasing the membership of the OECD's International Energy Agency. But in case the G8 cannot solve this matter, the United States is exploring setting up an insurance grouping of interested parties:

The "Energy Diplomacy and Security Act" [draft legislation] proposes that the United States, the world's largest oil consumer, forge energy partnerships abroad, notably with China and India, the world's second and fifth largest oil consumers, respectively.

Specifically, the legislation calls for China, India, and the United States to coordinate the release of strategic oil stocks, currently under construction in China and under discussion in India, to manage supply disruptions. Unlike the United States, neither China nor India are members of the International Energy Agency (IEA), the institution established to foster cooperation among the world's major oil consumers. The centerpiece of the IEA is the maintenance of emergency oil stocks and plans for coordinated use. In the near future, China and India are unlikely to join the IEA, which requires membership in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the maintenance of emergency oil stocks equivalent to at least 90 days of net oil imports. A formal coordination agreement with the United States would reinforce the informal cooperation that already exists between the IEA and China and India. Such an agreement, as outlined in Sen. Lugar's bill, would encourage both countries to contribute to global energy security through participation in international emergency oil stock releases to manage oil supply disruptions and their consequences.

Update - FT on 20 April 2006

The world should get ready for a Nato-style oil alliance

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