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No More Munich: The Mongolian Version Of 1938

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When the new cabinet of Prime Minister Sanj Bayar of Mongolia sits down with the Western mining companies, Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe, to ratify hopefully the long negotiated Investment Agreement, it is going to be the end of a year of extensive and cumbersome negotiation.

The cabinet basically has to assume the proper economic development of Mongolia, and like any other cabinet, must assure the maximum advantage of the mineral rights of this large country as well.

There is, however, more in the picture. History will report that there have been many Munichs since 1938. Munich agreed that there would be, as Prime Minister Chamberlain said, "Peace in our time." The Mongolian version of this historical event must diverge to the European failure of Munich. Mongolia needs peace and the Mongol people prosperity, but what is more important is that there is stability on this unique land. About two to two and a half years after the agreement is signed, the money will flow from the mining ventures. The sudden increase of monetary wealth is always a target let's say to everybody. Everybody means everybody who needs $1 billion - which means the whole world. The current negotiations must assure political and economic stability, and hopefully create a climate that six or seven years from now when the money has flowed for four years, there shouldn't be a Chavez of Venezuela who will rearrange the cards, play with Mongolia's money, give it away to other people, and in turn establish a so-called nationalist dictatorship.

Being neither a politician nor a negotiator at the table, I simply would like to remind the Mongolian cabinet, the Mongolian people, and indeed the world, that today in Venezuela inflation is 21 percent. More people are on the street that ever before. In the so-called nationalized nation of Castro, the misery has been the same since 1959, the ruler is the same Fidel Castro, and the other thing that has not changed is the economic decay which followed 1959-160 nationalization.

The world and Mongolia should not forget the sad lamentable events of history since 1938. We had the small nations of North Korea, the small nation of North Vietnam, Taiwan, and Kuwait. Each of these nations fell in one way or another at various times and periods into economic and political turmoil. The current negotiation may put a lot of strain on the Mongolian ministers, but the Mongolian people, like any other nation, do not want Mongolia to be another North Vietnam.

Incidentally, for the nations I mentioned, 100,000 American soldiers died. My old friend, Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska, a presidential Democratic candidate in the year 2008, said that every street corner in Vietnam has a Baskin-Robbins. This is why the suffering of 100,000 American soldiers and two million Vietnamese. It is in the negotiating table right now that we must bring about an agreement that does not create such a country out of Mongolia.

Mongolia is going to be rich. It could be one of the richest nations in the world on a per capita basis. It has four billion ounces of copper, uranium of unlimited size, coal, tungsten, and of course 32 million ounces of gold. Yearly production of gold is estimated to be 1,000,000 a year, which at the $1,000 level represents a billion dollar cash flow. It is 50 percent of the GNP of Mongolia today.

The temptation to interfere with Mongolia's future is very great. The country could have an annual income of over $4 billion, maybe $5 billion, and if it doesn't fall into the hands of reckless politicians and monetary mismanagement, there could be tremendous prosperity in the country. One and a half million Mongolians are the depository of a wealth equal to Kuwait. The educational system which is commendable will make sure that Mongolia will be an economically more diversified nation and a potential Mongolian economic miracle will bring tremendous prosperity to each and every citizen of the country.

I have recommended and I repeat it here that it is vital to build a modern stock market and make sure that companies that are active in Mongolia are listed there. It can be obtained in various ways, but I see nothing wrong with companies granting options to buy 10 or 15 percent of the mining companies active in Mongolia and list it on the Stock Exchange. There might be ten or fifteen publicly-owned uranium companies in the country. It is not desirable when the shares are held all overseas and when the Mongolians do not benefit immediately from the rise of those stock. If every company grants options for 10 percent to Mongolia, we are now going to talk about the sudden emergence of wealth, maybe reaching tens of billions of dollars before the decade is out.

Even before some money could flow. An article which I have written a few weeks ago shows that Mongolia can launch in London a company raising a billion dollars against the gold production coming on stream the second, third, or fourth year. A similar company was launched by Casanova, a division of JPMorgan Chase, raising $150 million. The offering was very successful. If such a company is established today, one billion dollars in a gold company and perhaps an equal amount of money in a copper indexed company, amounting to $2 billion, would be available immediately in the year 2008 for constructive development.

I lived through the second World War as a young child, but I remember the years 1945-46-47 when Hungary, before it surrendered to communist subjugation, developed its war-torn economy, and life in the school and at home became better and better. As a young child, I felt the progress and I was very happy and things got better on a month-to-month basis. This concept can be recreated in Mongolia beginning December, 2007. If the Investment Agreement is signed, if the details are ironed out, I am sure that Casanova would be very happy to negotiate the world's first gold-backed billion-dollar company and the world's first copper producing company. They would be, in fact, a stock market favorite. If such events happened, the current government can prove to the people that they care about the people, that they care about their country, and they became the parties who clearly say we live in the 21st century.

The Munich of 1938 created the biggest blood bath in history with a hundred million people dying. Wouldn't it be a historical honor for Mongolia if from their meeting this week, if from the signing of the Investment Agreement, two companies would be listed in London, brining immediately money and the early phase of prosperity to Mongolia? The agreement of 2007 could be permanent, whereas the agreement reached in Munich in 1938 in Berchtesgaden did not survive more than six months. In that respect, if I may say so, I was born in 1938 and I want to celebrate the result of the Mongolian agreement of 2008.