An American in Mongolia
February 20, 2004 1:10 PM   Subscribe

An American in Mongolia. A new breed of American soldier—call him the soldier-diplomat—has come into being since the end of the Cold War. Meet the colonel who was our man in Mongolia, an officer who probably wielded more local influence than many Mongol rulers of yore.
posted by kablam (7 comments total)
This is fascinating. Thanks, kablam.
posted by homunculus at 1:29 PM on February 20, 2004

Agreed, that was a fantastic article about one amazing soldier. 'Major Altankhuu confided to me at one point, "Colonel Wilhelm is a great man. He makes us like America so much."' It's easy to see why -- I only hope we can live up to the expectations that Wilhelm creates.
posted by Zonker at 4:00 PM on February 20, 2004

What a terrific article. It's a vibrant portrait of someone who sounds like a truly remarkable character, an interesting look into a remote corner of the world, a primer on a border conflict in the making, and an intriguing perspective on the social changes that have occured in the U.S. military over the past twenty years. I'm always interested in articles on Mongolia, but this is truly great. Thanks for posting it.

The bit about the effect evangelical Christianity had on military culture really surprised me. I'm sure nobody could have predicted that.
posted by Mars Saxman at 5:31 PM on February 20, 2004

Outstanding article.
posted by techgnollogic at 9:40 PM on February 20, 2004

Americans, of course, are uncomfortable with the idea of having or running a global empire, but that responsibility is being thrust upon them nevertheless in Mongolia as elsewhere.

You gotta love this.

Otherwise an outstanding article. Reminds me of Lawrence of Arabia, actually.
posted by azazello at 9:53 PM on February 20, 2004

At the time of the Iraq crisis the Mongolians staged no anti-war demonstrations. Indeed, they deployed a contingent of 175 soldiers to Baghdad last year, to help with policing efforts—a move that marked the first entry of Mongol troops into Mesopotamia since 1258, when Hulagu Khan, a grandson of Genghis Khan's, arrived and exterminated most of the population of Baghdad.

I bet that the Baghdad resident rolled out the red welcoming carpet...
posted by titboy at 5:59 PM on February 22, 2004


posted by titboy at 5:59 PM on February 22, 2004

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