Tuesday, February 28, 2017

From the Edge of a Former Empire

I write little on Mongolia. Once under the control of the Soviet Union, Mongolia is now independent. But it was once part of the Chinese empire. So Russia certainly has an interest in keeping Mongolia at least neutral.

Is Mongolia going to be okay?

The roller-coaster ride that was the commodity supercycle sent Mongolia's resource-driven economy pinwheeling from 17% growth in 2011 to an external debt crisis just a few years later. But with commodity prices rebounding and the IMF swooping in for an imminent bailout, many feel the worst may be over. Can the country -- so ripe with potential -- transform this moment into the lasting stability its people and businesses have waited so long for?

Corruption raises its ugly head as the chief impediment to progress.

America can't be everywhere (funny, I thought I blogged about that 2004 article) this but can't find it. This certainly seems like an area where Japan and Russia could work together for shared interests in keeping Mongolia unbroken. Although I'd prefer the Japanese to be the ones working on rule of law.

You never can tell when the next edition of China's "Wall Map Series of National Territory" will include Mongolia as historic territory that the empire once owned.

"Core interests" can reappear from history at any time. A broken Mongolia could earn a spot on that map.