There are few places on earth as beguiling to visitors as Mongolia. Virtually everything about the place represents a seeming contradiction and a rare potential. Surrounded by undemocratic Russia and Communist China and with virtually no legacy of pluralism, Mongolia has nevertheless built an emerging democracy and this year played successful host to a global gathering for the Community of Democracies. Now a peaceful nation with a small military that has supported 15 peacekeeping missions around the world over the past decade, Mongol hordes under the command of Genghis Khan once conquered most of the known world.
Mongolia has moved exceedingly slowly to develop the most extensive deposits of globally necessary minerals and high quality coal that it possesses. The nation recognises that responsible exploitation and management of these reserves will make it a wealthy country able to spread prosperity to its people. And despite a heritage distinct from much of Asia, Mongolia nevertheless has become a vibrant member of the continent’s emerging community.