Assessing the Collective Security Treaty Organization: Capabilities and Vulnerabilities   [open pdf - 3MB]

"The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) has been one of the Russian Federation's more visible forays down the path of regional hegemony. Under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, Moscow has been promoting a series of increasingly ambitious Russian-led multilateral institutions. The CSTO has helped restore Moscow's military power in Central Asia and the South Caucasus. Although originally designed for mutual defense, CSTO members employ the organization to counter transnational threats such as cyber vulnerabilities, narcotics trafficking, transnational crime, and terrorism. Member countries further collaborate on arms sales and manufacturing, military facilities and training, regional security consultations, and conducting joint military exercises. In addition, the development of some permanent bodies in recent years demonstrates increased integration among CSTO members. Moscow uses the CSTO to pursue a variety of goals such as power projection, legitimation of its policies, and constraints on member states. Although Russia dominates the CSTO, the organization is weak. Its member governments continue to disagree on important issues and have failed to act in Ukraine or Syria. The weakness of the CSTO has hindered Russia's ability to pursue its goals through the organization and provides an opening for skilled U.S. leadership."

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