The UN and the CSTO
What to make of the recent news that the U.N. signed a cooperation agreement with the CSTO? According to Vlad Socor, writing at Jamestown, it will further embolden Russia to act unilaterally in its near abroad:
The core issue, however, is that of a de facto division of responsibilities for conducting peacekeeping operations and authorizing military intervention. Moscow seeks to carve out a zone of responsibility for itself in Eurasia, under the flag of the CSTO, its political mechanism, and its collective forces. In such a zone, Russia (acting either through the CSTO, the latter’s regional subgroups, or unilaterally) would initiate and lead peacekeeping, military, or “anti-terrorism” operations.
Russia would not have to await an international mandate from the UN or some other organization for such operations. It would, however, welcome any form of endorsement to legitimize its initiatives, even short of an international mandate (which it cannot realistically expect from the UN in the foreseeable future). The declaration just signed is a significant step in that direction.
This seems true to me, though it seems like Russia has already been able to get international organizations' imprimatur (like the UN and OSCE) for its dominance of peacekeeping missions in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Tajikistan. Any thoughts on what this new step might mean?
Joshua Kucera is the Turkey/Caucasus editor at Eurasianet, and author of The Bug Pit.
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