Like so many countries from the former Soviet bloc, Mongolia faced a terrible economic upheaval at the end of the Soviet Union. In the first few years, inflation went up over 250 percent; employment went down.
And people started drinking much more heavily. "Alcoholism was devastating during the economic hardships of the '90s," writes Jargalsaikhan Mendee, a political scientist and former Mongolian defense attaché to the United States, in an email to Goats and Soda.
The Dalai Lama says he made a difference. In an interview last Sunday with news comedian John Oliver, the Tibetan spiritual leader said, "I suggested [to the Mongolians] drink much less vodka. Instead of that, drink horse milk."
"You tried to wean them off vodka by giving them horse milk?" Oliver replied, incredulously.
"Oh yes. Then they follow," the Dalai Lama said. "Since then I think majority of Mongolians no longer any drink."
Predictably, this claim got fact-checked and seems not to be as straightforward as the story the Dalai Lama offered up. And I have to admit, I love when beloved public figures take credit for things and then get knocked down a peg (see Hillary Clinton and Northern Ireland, for example). Of course, this claim from the Dalai Lama is more humorous than anything, IMO. Also, gotta love that picture of Justice Douglas in a Mongolian yurt.
Last Edit: Mar 10, 2017 18:06:09 GMT -5 by michaelw