More than a quarter of a century has passed since Mongolia broke free of Soviet tutelage and set out to chart an independent course in foreign policy. Given the country’s staggering geopolitical handicap—the inescapable embrace of Russia to the north and China to the south—Mongolia has done remarkably well. Playing China against Russia and the other way around, Ulaanbaatar has so far defied predictions of falling prey to one or the other of its voracious neighbors. Whether this is a result of Mongolia’s skilful diplomacy or simply because the neighbors turned out to be less voracious than one is apt to assume is another matter. Russia’s post-Cold War retrenchment and China’s low key foreign policy under Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao gave the Mongolians considerable flexibility.