Friday, December 24, 2010

The Vanguard of Democracy No More

Two historians drew similar arguments from recent Belarus' crackdown on post-election protests:

This might be a good time for Americans to ask: do we have a foreign policy that promotes human rights and democracy? For many, any such mission was discredited by Iraq; but we might remember, from the revolutions of 1989 and the Ukrainian Orange Revolution of 2004, that peaceful regime change is possible when all sides agree to the democratic rules of the game. Lukashenko clearly does not, and the only power that might persuade him is Russia.
Brutality in Belarus by Timothy Snyder

But in truth, the West has few carrots to offer unpopular dictators - even unpopular dictators who share borders with Europe - other than free trade and the long-term possibility of integration and economic growth. European foreign ministers cannot guarantee Lukashenko personal wealth. They cannot offer corrupt oil deals. They can talk about "freedom" - and they did - but they have to compete with others who talk about "the Chinese model," who offer more predictable forms of job security and who aren't bothered by a few arrests. On the Monday morning after the police attack on the opposition, the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, declared that the elections were Belarus's "internal affair."

This, then, is what the "decline of the West" looks like in the eastern half of Europe: The United States and Europe, out of money and out of ideas, scarcely fund the Belarusan opposition. Russia, flush with oil money once again, has agreed to back Lukashenko and fund his regime. Let's hope it costs them a lot more than they expect.
In Belarus, a slide toward Eastern aggression by Anne Applebaum

Addendum: Фотографи из Минска

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Boy With Axe

Boy with Axe, Tsagaannuur, Mongolia by Andres Gonzalez

via The New Yorker Ten Memorable Documentary Photos from 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Google ngram: Enkhbayar v. Elbegdorj

Google-iin scan hiisen 15 saya nomiin data dotor Enkhbayar, Elbegdorj hoyoriin hen ni iluu aldartayg tandaj uzev :)

Any theories to explain the second half of the graph?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Baabar Has Hope

Даруухан хүсэл нь аугаа зорилго болон биелдэг, тайвуухан алхам нь нийгмийн дэвшил болон биеждэг баатарлаг нүүдэлчид, гайхамшигт реформаторчдын үр ач, сүүлийн тавин жилийн шинэтгэл, хувьсгалын амьд гарчийн хувьд итгэл, -зөвхөн итгэл найдвараар- амлан өндийсэн билээ, би. Байгаадаа ханадаггүй, барьцаа алдаггүй, үргэлж амжилтаа чамлаж, үүрд шинэ оргилд тэмүүлэмтгий манай ард түмэнд дандаа шинэ маргааш, хөгжлийн шинэ өндөрлөг нээлттэй тодорно гэдэгт итгэн амьдардаг билээ, би. Ийм ард түмэнд итгэхгүй бол өөр ямар ард түмэнд итгэх билээ.
Ардчилсан хувьсгалын баярт зориулсан хүндэтгэлийн хурал дээр Баабарын тавьсан илтгэл

Just as any of his other writings, masterful and brilliant through and through - even though it reads like a great sarcasm :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Photo of the Day

Police officers in riot wear contain student protesters on Westminster Bridge on December 9, 2010 in London, England. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images) #

Addendum: "A Mongolian high school student in the US is blogging about her college application process on NYTimes blog" (via EsDalanZurgaa)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Cartoon of the Day

Shog zuraach Tsogtbayariin buteel. Heterhii ih har ungu ashiglaad baidgaas bus sanaagaa herhen ilerhiilj bui ni bishirmeer!

By the way, the cartoon reminds me of a joke Zizek recounted in his book, Welcome to the Desert of the Real!:

There is a well-known Israeli joke about Bill Clinton visiting Bibi Netanyahu: when Clinton sees a mysterious blue phone in Bibi's office, he asks Bibi what it is, and Bibi answers that it allows him to dial Him up there in the sky. Upon his return to the States, the envious Clinton demands that his secret service should provide him with such a phone - at any cost. They deliver it within two weeks, and it works, but the phone bill is exorbitant - two million dollars for a one-minute talk with Him up there. So Clinton furiously calls Bibi and complains: 'How can you afford such a phone, if even we, who support you financially, can't? Is this how you spend our money?' Bibi answers calmly: 'No, it's not that - you see, for us, Jews, that call counts as a local call!' Interestingly, in the Soviet version of the joke, God is replaced by Hell: when Nixon visits Brezhnev and sees a special phone, Brezhnev explains to him that this is a link to Hell; at the end of the joke, when Nixon complains about the price of the call, Brezhnev calmly answers: 'For us in the Soviet Union, the call to Hell counts as a local call.'

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Unintended Consequences

This is perhaps the most important lesson we Mongolians must learn as a society right now:

Like the Pakistani secret service’s indulgence of the Taliban in the mid-1990s, intended as a directed outlet for Islamic radicalism, the [Russian neo-nazi] movement has slipped from the grasp of those who would rein it in. Instead of creating a docile manipulable movement, it has unleashed a generation of radicals.
The skinhead terrorists

Sunday, December 05, 2010

В пальто и штанах

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Russia's Reckoning With Her Crimes

Polshiin yurunhii said Donald Tusk ungursun zun
Karliin Ih Surguuli deer unshsan lektsiin uyer

Ihenh humuus anzaaraaguy baih l daa. Ungursun doloo honogt bolson chuhal negen uil yavdal bol yah argaguy Orosiin parliament Katyn massacre-t Stalin bolon ter uyeiin Zuvlultiin udirdagchid buruutay baisniig huleen zuvshuursun yavdal bailaa. Gehdee end hamgiin temdegluushtey zuil ni Polyak-uud uursduu EU-eer damjuulan Orosiig enehuu medegdliig hiihees uur argaguy baidald oruulsan yavdal. Uuniig l jinhene diplomat ur uhaan gedeg baih. (Medeej Donald Tusk uuniig hiij chadsanaaraa tuuhend neree munhluh ni gartsaaguy).

Harin manaihan Ih Helmegduuleltiin talaar chuham yu hiij baigaa yum buu med. Minii medehiin Enkhbayar 2000 ond baina uu daa MAXH helmegduulelted buruutay, gehdee tegj yarih yum bol manai nam ch gesen davhar helmegdsen geh mayagiin yum heleed uursud deeree buruug tohoshiigeed ungursun. Tsaashlaad bid Orosuudaar buruug ni huleelguuleh baitugay helmegdsen humuusiinhee materialiig archive-aas ni olj avch ch chaddaguy archaaguy ard tumen. Hervee tuuhen unen gej baidag yum bol hezee negen tsagt Orosuud Stalin-ii hiisen hergiin umnuus bidnees uuchlalt guih uchirtay. Harin uuniig uhaan siilj Orosuudiig shahaand oruulj baij olj avahaas bish uchirguy neg udur uuchlalt guichihna gej genen dur esgeh ali esvel ogt bolooguy met nudee aniad unguruh erh bidend baihguy.

Oiriin uyed ene uil yavdaltay holbootoygoor Katyn-ii talaar neleed olon zuil bichigdeh baih (uunii dotor Polshiin gadaad hergiin said Radoslaw Sikorski-giin ehner Anne Applebaum yu heleh ni neleed sonirholtoy baih bolov uu). Yutay ch tedgeeriin salhiig hagalsan Timothy Snyder-iin (a brilliant historian!) niitleliig unshihiig zuvluj baina:

The declaration of the Russian parliament deserves great praise, and the political acknowledgement of Katyń might affect Russia’s own discussions of Stalinism. It invites Poles into a conversation about history that heretofore has focused on Russia’s own wartime heroism and martyrology. Presumably, it won’t be long before a Russian or Polish historian points out that Stalin’s Great Terror, remembered as the great crime against Russians, in fact specifically targeted ethnic minorities such as Poles. However that may be, the declaration confirms a basic reality of our age of globalized commemoration: national history is becoming inseparable from foreign policy.

Addendum: Hervee amjaaguy bol Andrzej Wajda-giin "Katyn"-iig zaaval olj uzeerey + Anne Applebaum's brilliant review of the film: "A Movie That Matters"

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Real Benefit of Wikileaks (For Us)

Perhaps the most clear-headed treatment of recent Wikileaks' documents:

Beyond the questions surrounding the massive nature of their disclosure—right or wrong, catastrophic or merely embarrassing—what do these documents reveal about U.S. foreign policy and the nature of diplomacy?

Mainly they illustrate principles about the "great game" of power politics dating back to Thucydides—that nations behave according to their material interests and that a big part of diplomacy lies in appealing to, threatening, or manipulating those interests.

[...]In this sense, Obama's statements [made in his Nobel Prize lecture] marked a resumption of diplomatic practice and principles, as they had been understood by all powers, great and small, for centuries. In this same sense, the WikiLeaks documents—some of them, anyway—show these principles in action.
Diplomacy in Action by Fred Kaplan

Had I been the foreign minister of Mongolia, I would have created a special detail within the ministry and devote it solely to analyze these documents--you know, just to understand how really American foreign policy works :)

Addendum: Arguably the best memo within the entire leak :P
Ramzan, who danced clumsily with his gold-plated automatic stuck down in the back of his jeans (a houseguest later pointed out that the gold housing eliminated any practical use of the gun, but smirked that Ramzan probably couldn’t fire it anyway). Both Gadzhi and Ramzan showered the dancing children with hundred dollar bills; the dancers probably picked upwards of USD 5000 off the cobblestones. Gadzhi told us later that Ramzan had brought the happy couple “a five kilo lump of gold” as his wedding present. After the dancing and a quick tour of the premises, Ramzan and his army drove off back to Chechnya. We asked why Ramzan did not spend the night in Makhachkala, and were told, “Ramzan never spends the night anywhere.”