Mongols arrive in Baghdad, rise

by Nathan Hamm on 9/25/2003

Mongols arrive in Baghdad, rise in fires entirely unrelated.
Mongolians have arrived in Baghdad,
as peacekeepers this time around. Baghdad’s minarets and mosques appear
safe.
Mongolia is one of my favorite countries hands-down. It’s right at the
top of my list of places I want to visit. Maybe it’s because I never
hear anything about them, but the Mongolians just seem so laid back.
The above story though is proof that they are pretty savvy and get the
way the world works. Some of my favorite parts:

Mongolia, whose trade with the United States was only $180
million last year, formally proposed to Washington a free trade pact.
“Negotiations could be concluded in one weekend,” Mr. Saunders said
over a pineapple pizza lunch at the California Restaurant, one of the
latest American cultural imitations here. “It would have not any
economic impact on the U.S. In one year, the U.S. trades less with
Mongolia than what it trades with Taiwan in 12 hours.”

I hope it happens. It’s no big deal for us and it means a lot to a country like Mongolia.

At the training ground for the peacekeeping unit, the rear
window of a Soviet-made jeep carried two fresh stickers in red and
gold: “Semper Fi” and “USMC,” souvenirs from 50 United States marines
who left last week after leading a training exercise.
“Even though our country is locked between China and Russia, the
biggest countries in the world, we should not restrict our relations,”
Colonel Erkhenbayar said in his second- floor office, decorated with
photos, patches, and medals from nearly a decade of contacts with
American military forces. “America could be our first neighbor, the way
it is for Poland.”

This reminds me of US soldiers in Uzbekistan. The Uzbek military loved
our guys, and our troops loved the assignment. These military ties are
some of the best bi-lateral relations that we can have. Government
ministers come and go, but officers usually make a career.

“Words are not enough to fight with terrorism,” Prime
Minister Nambaryn Enkhbayar of Mongolia said in an interview last week,
fresh from welcoming delegates from 118 countries classified as new or
restored democracies.

Nice. This is one of the few leaders that I’ll actually believe means this when he says it.

Mongolia is rapidly embracing the United States in an
effort to develop a balance to its historically dangerous neighbors,
China and Russia. Twice the size of Texas, but with only 2.4 million
people, this land of nomadic herders has a deep, if rarely voiced, fear
of becoming another Tibet. After centuries of Chinese rule, Mongolia
won independence only in 1921 with Soviet support.

If we look at the “Great Game Scorecard,” it’s US: 2.5, Russia: 2.5-3, China: 0. Not bad.

Mongolia’s offer of troops surprised the American
government because it had not asked Mongolia for help, said Steven R.
Saunders, president of a private, Washington-based group promoting
business ties with Mongolia.

France, take note, this is what a friend acts like.


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This post was written by...

– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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