ISIS, but Buddhist

As the debate over the true relationship between ISIS and Islamic tradition grinds on, historians of 20th-century Mongolia must be wondering why no one is talking about Baron Roman Fedorovich von Ungern-Sternberg.

In the early 1920s, Ungern-Sternberg carved out a religiously inspired pseudo-state based in Ulaanbaatar, terrorizing its inhabitants with sadistic public murders to fulfill his messianic dream of a restored empire. His story is instructive for anyone trying to understand what’s unique and what isn’t about the Islamic State.

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