Time's Cover, Ctd

David Rothkopf sounds like a politician:

We need a new international understanding on these issues, one that will produce a coalition of nations that will strictly enforce a ban on aid to countries that abuse women -- and one that will introduce sanctions on those countries until they comply with what must be the most basic entry-level rules for participating in global society.

Sure, that will work. I mean: please. Could we get any more utpoian? Norm Geras, meanwhile, takes issue with my response to a supporter of the war in Afghanistan:

No one who undertakes some putative good or the combating of some evil is thereby obligated to take on an impossible burden of doing good and combating every evil. Otherwise, we couldn't do anything without being called on to do everything - which is a practical reductio ad absurdum. When Andrew supported the interventions in Afghanistan and then Iraq, this type of argument was put by some of those who were opposed. Why Afghanistan or Iraq and not North Korea, Burma, Zimbabwe as well? Because there's only so much one can do (even if 'one' is a powerful country). This is not to criticize him for having changed his mind on certain things. It is only to say that a style of argument that was no good then is still no good. Also: between 'on the cheap' and 'a century of neo-imperialism', there are intermediate possibilities.

I'm not sure there are, actually, unless Norm means the kind of hands-off counter-terrorism that seems the only realistic option in Af-Pak. I did support these wars in part because of the evil of the enemy, Saddam and the Taliban. But I have learned my lesson. It is not enough for the enemy to be evil, or even dangerous. We must be able to do something about it that is within our capacity and skills and budget. Building nations in Iraq and Afghanistan fails this sniff-test, and the experience of the past decade proves it.