Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wall Street Journal ran a piece on Mongolia, urging the US government to step up its relationship with Mongolia and perhaps even increase the Millenium Challenge funding directed at infrastructure development in Mongolia. Excerpts:
Similar tactics are afoot in other sectors of Mongolia's economy. Russian enterprises already own 49% of Mongolia's national railway and its largest copper and gold mining companies (Erdenet). An industrial group founded by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wants to consolidate the Russian-controlled shares of all three companies, effectively giving Mr. Putin's cronies a near-stranglehold on key players in the Mongolian economy. Officially, Mongolian officials express confidence in the benefits of deeper economic relations with Russia. Privately, they admit to feeling pressured into opening up their markets to Moscow, and wish more Western companies would invest.

Read the full article here
The increasing Russian influence in Mongolia is starting to make China and the US nervous. Just last week, the VP of China, Xi Jinping visited Mongolia and hurriedly signed 10 cooperative agreements.

Now more than ever, Mongolia feels the need for help in our attempt to balance the power struggle between our two big neighbours. In the early days of the 20th century before the shroud of Communism fell over us, Mongolia had attempted to establish diplomatic ties with Japan, Germany & France amongst others. None were interested or powerful enough to help us make a stand against the Bolsheviks. Today, given the new discoveries of natural resources, finding friends should not be very challenging. But is there a single country influential and powerful enough to help offset the power and influence of our two neighbours, I wonder. USA is without a doubt influential and powerful enough, but their focus isn't on the political intricacies of Central Asia. I don't think we can afford to wait till the US gets done with the Iraq problem... in about 200 years. But you never know what will happen once the Bush administration is replaced.