Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Be careful what you wish for


I picked this piece of the interweb this week. As I have mentioned before, the Mongolian government has deployed to the middle east for quite some time. Instructor troops and peacekeepers. Well, they are taking a step up.

Mongolia to Step Up African Peacekeeping Contributions
March 21, 2011 - 2:57pm, by Joshua Kucera
The Bug PitMongolia
Mongolia is proposing to send 1,500 peacekeepers to Cote d'Ivoire, in what would be by far its largest troop contribution to an international mission (and, if we want to be cute about it, the largest troop deployment abroad since the days of the Mongol Empire).
Mongolia is a useful comparison to other post-Soviet states, in particular Central Asian ones, which have similar cultures and histories. But Mongolia has been much more active than any of those countries in contributing to UN missions. Over 2,300 Mongolian peacekeepers have served in Sierra Leone alone, with contributions in several other UN missions, as well as in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The only comparable country in the Caucasus and Central Asia would be Georgia, which has contributed several thousand troops to the U.S.-led efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. But while Georgia is trying, with its contributions, to gain favor with the West and especially the U.S., Mongolia is taking the UN peacekeeping approach to gain international support, stuck as it is between two large powers, China and Russia.
Mongolia now has 228 (pdf) soldiers on UN missions, mainly Sudan and Sierra Leone. Compare that to 22 UN peacekeepers from Kyrgyzstan, 2 from Kazakhstan, and not a one from any other country in the Caucasus or Central Asia.
Sending an additional 1,500 troops to Ivory Coast would make Mongolians about 1/6 of the total force there, where 54 UN troops have already been killed.

So there you have it. The Mongol gov't is sitting on the request for the moment, but if I was a Mongolian soldier the warm climes of the Ivory Coast would be looking pretty appealing right now. Lets just hope they don't get into the whole world domination thing again. Then again, Rapine and slaughter aside, the Mongols did allright by strict conquering standards during their fifteen minutes of fame. Perhaps, they should join up with the Nepalase Ghurkas and enjoy Ghengis Round II.
For my part, I really love the term "largest troop deployment abroad since the days of the Mongol Empire" Ignore history at your peril.