8 July 2017
Author: Frank Adam Negri, Alaska National Guard
Mongolia is quickly becoming known for its global military presence. With China and Russia as its only direct neighbours, Mongolia faces a conundrum. Mongolia’s foreign policy is dominated by the necessity to balance the influences of its powerful neighbours and the need to gather support from like-minded countries. Mongolia refers to this as their ‘Third Neighbour Policy’, which aims to allow for economic and political self-determination independent of both China and Russia. Mongolia’s military is key to the execution of this policy.
Officially, Mongolia’s policy is to maintain friendly relations with China and Russia, but with recent occupations by both countries, Ulaanbaatar is rightfully cautious of their influence. Further, both neighbours have significant power over the Mongolian economy, maintaining controlling interests of mineral developments, exports and rail infrastructure.
Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mongolia was largely regarded as a Soviet client state, which obscured its visibility. During this time, Mongolia acted as a buffer between China and the Soviet Union, remaining relatively isolated from world politics. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and Mongolia’s democratic revolution, Ulaanbaatar sought a path that would allow it to become an independent member of the global community. They found this path in UN peacekeeping.
Read the full article on EAST ASIA FORUM.