The Conflict in Ukraine: Classes for Mongolia

“For the small nations,” reminded Czech-born author Milan Kundera, “existence is just not a self-evident certainty however all the time a query, a wager, a danger.” Nothing in current reminiscence reminded Mongolia of this vulnerability greater than the struggle in Ukraine.

Surrounded by Russia and China, with a inhabitants of solely 3.5 million, Mongolia is deriving many exhausting classes from watching Ukraine. Such classes discovered by smaller nations will form international affairs within the years to come back.

Mongolia’s excessive geographic constraints imply that on the subject of overseas coverage issues Ulaanbaatar often has to first contemplate its two neighbors’ positions. However this strategy inevitably delays Mongolia’s overseas coverage formulation. Within the age of social media, shedding time means shedding the narrative. Mongolia’s authorities has to study to be proactive in its communication and keep forward of the narrative. In any other case, there’s a danger of public opinion not precisely reflecting Mongolia’s overseas coverage.

Within the case of the struggle in Ukraine, Mongolian Minister of International Affairs Battsetseg Batmunkh didn’t publicly talk Mongolia’s name for a peaceable decision of the battle till March 2 – nearly every week after the invasion. Even then, the message was not replicated in English.

Globally related and socially aware, Mongolian youth didn’t take the delay evenly. Mongolian social media is awash with criticisms of the federal government’s perceived inaction in advocating for Ukraine.

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However, Mongolia had despatched humanitarian help to Ukraine and did abstain from voting on a U.N. decision demanding the withdrawal of Russian troops (moderately than voting in opposition to the decision). Though these measures will not be sufficient by any means, they’re important contemplating the truth that Russia has nearly complete management of Mongolia’s power provide and has been relentlessly pressuring Mongolia to help its struggle.

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The communications shortcomings of the Mongolian overseas coverage institution are compounded by close to absence of revered Mongolian voices within the worldwide media. Apart from one op-ed by then-prime minister in 2005 in The Washington Publish, nearly no Mongolian has printed an op-ed in a serious opinion-shaping publication, akin to The New York Instances or the Monetary Instances.

It is a critical hole that one may even argue has nationwide safety implications. Ukrainians are expertly deploying worldwide media to tell the world about their plight. Mongolians are solely now beginning to understand the significance of having the ability to successfully make their case to a world viewers.

Dwarfed by outsized army powers, Russia and China, for the previous 30 years, Mongolia noticed little must spend a lot taxpayer cash on its army. However the struggle in Ukraine is educating Mongolians a unique lesson: Nobody can predict the long run, and Mongolia needs to be prepared for any scenario.

On July 10, State Flag Day, Mongolia’s authorities held in all probability the largest annual army parade in 30 years. Judging by the keenness and fanfare of the Mongolian public, there appears to be little resistance to this elevated concentrate on army.

As famous by many worldwide specialists, a number of Ukraine’s success may be attributed to their extremely expert and decentralized forces. Similar to the Ukrainian army of 2014, Mongolia’s army nonetheless operates in the identical outdated Soviet top-down tradition.

However through the previous eight years, Ukraine managed to empower their NCOs and gave extra autonomy to small items. If the Mongolian military is critical about repelling exterior threats and inner instability, it has to bear the identical revamping of organizational tradition. Given its restricted measurement and sources, Mongolia has no selection however to depend on impartial smaller items.

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For numerous historic and geostrategic causes, many Mongolians imagine that Russia is the one nation that might present a safety assure to Mongolia. However the Russian management’s current unfounded declare that Mongolia hosts American bioweapons labs and Russia’s evident army shortcomings in Ukraine are making Mongolians query Russia’s want and skill to ensure stability within the area.

Mongolia is within the midst of determining its place within the altering world order. This course of requires a fragile balancing act. On the one hand, as the one functioning democracy in your entire Eurasian heartland, Mongolians can deeply relate to Ukrainians’ want to reside in a democratic and affluent society.

However, Mongolians are additionally realizing that ought to something occur to Mongolia, the nation can be by itself. No Western nation may present a safety assure to Mongolia. Russia and China won’t go away from the neighborhood, and by some means, Mongolia should peacefully coexist with them.

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The teachings that smaller nations are deriving from the struggle in Ukraine are distinctive to their very own circumstances. However the one unifying theme is elevated self-reliance. Creatively circumventing constraints and making themselves indispensable to the worldwide group are the important thing for small states. The struggle reminded Mongolians that they now haven’t any selection however to organize for all eventualities.