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Mongolia and the United States: A Diplomatic History

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Mongolia and the United States: A Diplomatic History

“Long before they had diplomatic relations, Mongolia and the United States influenced one another in unusual and unrecognized ways. Now Jonathan Addleton’s inside look at the diplomatic relations between the two countries carries lessons for anyone wishing to learn from the past as a guide to future relations between the great powers of Asia and America.”
JACK WEATHERFORD, author of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

Mongolia and the United States provides a pioneering firsthand look at the remarkable growth in diplomatic ties between two countries separated by vast distances that yet share many interests and values. It also describes American encounters with Mongolia over the past 150 years and provides personal insights drawn from material that would otherwise be unavailable.

On January 27, 1987, senior diplomats from the United States and Mongolia met in a modest ceremony in the Treaty Room of the Department of State to establish at last formal diplomatic relations between the two countries. Twenty-six years later, Mongolians and Americans are increasingly meeting, learning from, understanding, and partnering with each other to achieve common aims and objectives.

While maintaining positive ties with its two powerful neighbors and trading partners, China and Russia, Mongolia has sought “third neighbors” to help provide balance. Among these, the United States has supported Mongolia as an emerging democracy while strengthening development and commercial relations. People-to-people ties have expanded, as has a security partnership that supports Mongolia’s emergence as a provider of military peacekeepers in Sierra Leone, Chad, Kosovo, Darfur, South Sudan, and elsewhere. A magnet for foreign investment, Mongolia is one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Against this backdrop, partnerships developed between the United States and Mongolia since 1987 reflect the ways in which diplomatic engagement sets the stage for more dramatic and far-reaching changes.

Jonathan Addleton participated in a number of these developments, first as USAID country director (2001–04) and later as U.S. ambassador (2009–12). In July 2012, he was awarded the Polar Star, Mongolia’s highest civilian honor conferred on foreign citizens, for his role in strengthening ties between the United States and Mongolia. Other assignments have included development counselor at the U.S. Mission to the European Union; USAID mission director in Pakistan and Cambodia; USAID program officer in Jordan, Kazakhstan, South Africa, and Yemen; and senior civilian representative for the U.S. embassy in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He has authored two previous books, Undermining the Center (Oxford University Press, 1992) and Some Far and Distant Place (University of Georgia Press, 1997).