September 7, 2008

HARRISONBURG—Dr. J. Peter Pham, director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University, was quoted in a front-page article in today’s Washington Times on the opportunity for the People’s Republic of China to “build greater diplomatic muscle, especially through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO),” as tensions escalate between the United States and Russia over the conflict in Georgia.

Beijing-based Times correspondent Chris O’Brien reports:

J. Peter Pham, a professor at James Madison University and a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based think tank, said the interests motivating the SCO member states “are more permanent and likely to outlast the Georgian crisis of the moment.”

“I suspect that the SCO members, while ambiguous about Russia’s actions in Georgia, will find a way to compose any differences between them, which are nonetheless smaller than their differences with countries outside their bloc.

“While President Dmitry Medvedev may have overreached in expecting the Dushanbe summit to endorse his actions, he was correct in assuming that they were unlikely to condemn him. At least for the foreseeable future, the regimes which are members of the bloc have too many shared interests to jeopardize their nascent alliance for the sake of any outsider, much less one like Georgia, which is so clearly aligned with the West,” he wrote in an e-mail.

 Other experts quoted in the analysis piece include Dr. Yan Xuetong, director of the Institute of International Studies in Beijing’s Tsinghua University, and Dr. Dimitri Trenin, deputy director of the Carnegie Moscow Center.

For the full text of the article, “Beijing Beneficiary of U.S.-Russia Rift,” click here.