Russia's Self-Aggrandisement - The Times editorial
“This reminds me all too much of other recent conflicts that have torn our continent apart, particularly in the Balkans,” said Bernard Kouchner, the French Foreign Minister, yesterday. He was speaking before Georgia reportedly ordered its forces to cease fire and offered to negotiate with Russia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia. But Mr Kouchner's words are an ominous portent for the conflict; and as the former chief UN administrator in Kosovo, he would recognise the signs. These are not only the dismaying images of civilians fleeing from a city under bombardment.They also include Russia's determination to pursue national aggrandisement at the expense of small nations. In 1993, when Boris Yeltsin urged the United Nations to consider Russia as the guarantor of peace and stability in the former Soviet republics, a senior American official asked what was wrong with a “Russian Monroe doctrine” recognising Moscow's lead role in regional affairs. The answer is that Russia evidently interprets its regional interests as allowing it to violate internationally recognised borders.