Mongolia and the United States

A Diplomatic History


Jonathan S. Addleton

ISBN : 978-988-8139-94-1


May 2013

204 pages, 6″ x 9″

  • HK$250.00

Mongolia and the United States provides a pioneering firsthand look at the remarkable growth in ties between two countries separated by vast distances that yet share a growing list of interests and values.

While maintaining positive ties with its two powerful neighbors, China and Russia, Mongolia has sought “third neighbors” to help provide balance. For its part, the United States responded by supporting Mongolia as an emerging democracy while strengthening development and commercial relations. People-to-people ties have also expanded, as has a security partnership that supports Mongolia’s emergence as a provider of military peacekeepers in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Darfur, 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 variety of ways in which diplomatic engagement can help set the stage for more dramatic and far-reaching changes.

The author, Jonathan S. Addleton, participated in a number of these developments, first as USAID country director (2001–04) and later as US ambassador (2009–12). The narrative provides personal insights and is based on material that would otherwise be unavailable.

Jonathan S. Addleton served as a US Foreign Service officer in Mongolia twice, first as USAID mission director (2001–04) and then as ambassador (2009–12). Other assignments include development counselor at the US Mission to the European Union in Brussels; USAID mission director in Pakistan and Cambodia; and USAID program officer in Jordan, Kazakhstan, South Africa, and Yemen. He has written a number of articles on Asia as well as two previous books, Undermining the Center (Oxford University Press, 1992) and Some Far and Distant Place (University of Georgia Press, 1997). In 2012, he was awarded the Polar Star, Mongolia’s highest civilian honor for foreign citizens, for his role in strengthening ties between the United States and Mongolia. He is also the 2014 recipient of American Foreign Service Association’s Christian A. Herter Award for Constructive Dissent.

“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

“Ambassador Addleton admirably documents contemporary Mongolian relations, together with early contacts in the 1860s and exotic adventures in the twentieth century. His timely, highly readable record of bilateral engagement since 1987 highlights the development of Mongolian democracy and the entwined interests of our two countries.” —Alphonse F. La Porta, US Ambassador to Mongolia, 1997–2000

“Hearty thanks to Jonathan Addleton for this lively and illuminating account of the US-Mongolian relationship’s rapid multidimensional development and major contribution to the historical transformation of this remote and fascinating country.” —Richard Williams, first US Ambassador to Mongolia

Mongolia and the United States is must reading for professional diplomats and business people preparing to work in Ulaanbaatar. Well organized and authoritative, Ambassador Addleton’s book will be welcomed by libraries and academic researchers seeking a work that puts all the data on US-Mongolia relations in one place. Lively descriptions of past history lead up to informative treatments of contemporary USAID measures to reform the Mongolian banking system, security cooperation between our military establishments, and Peace Corps people-to-people relationships. A valuable contribution to the literature on a strategic Asian country.” —Nicholas Platt, President Emeritus, Asia Society

“This in-depth study, which also includes personal observations by six of Addleton’s seven predecessors, goes beyond the tradition of diplomatic memoirs in that it is a well-researched and detailed, but eminently readable, review of American impact on Mongolia’s rapidly modernizing nomadic society. It will be the inspiration for further analysis of the post–Cold War American policies of democratic nationbuilding, free market promotion, and people-to-people contact in a country whose mineral-rich economy is emerging as a leader in Northeast Asia.” —Alicia Campi, author of The Impact of China and Russia on United States–Mongolian Political Relations in the Twentieth Century