At Least Russia Asked the UN for a Mandate

Regarding the editorial ``In the Name of Peace,'' Aug. 5, on the United Nation's peacekeeping mandate for Russia in Georgia: That such a mandate was in the offing became clear when the UN sanctioned French intervention in Rwanda, where, like the Russians in Georgia, the French have a history of partisan intervention. It was only a small step further to give ex post facto approval to Russia's action.

The essay characterized Russia's foreign policy toward its new neighbors as ``swallowing ... states ... in the name of peace.'' Certainly Russia's conduct has many similarities to past practices of other imperial states. But it should be recognized that Russian policy today is not a simple plot to reestablish the Soviet Union. It is the product of a wide range of domestic perspectives on relations with the new states.

The fact that Russia values the UN's blessing indicates its desire for good standing in the world community. The US has to nurture that commitment while pressuring Russia to translate it into action, specifically respect for the sovereignty of its neighbors. Darrell Stanaford, Carmel Valley, Calif.

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