Some opponents of a strike in Syria contend that the norm against chemical weapons is pointless, since they generally produce far fewer fatalities than conventional arms. But chemical weapons, like nuclear and biological ones, are concerning primarily because they make discrimination between civilians and fighters impossible.
If the 2011 intervention in Libya revived the responsibility to protect (R2P), the lack of intervention in Syria has seemed to bury it. But the doctrine was never meant as a panacea and could still work in future contexts, especially if decoupled from regime change.
Despite the fall of the Qaddafi regime in Libya, humanitarian intervention still has plenty of critics. But their targets are usually the early, ugly missions of the 1990s. Since then -- as Libya has shown -- the international community has learned its lessons and grown much more adept at using military force to save lives.
In an update to their 2009 Foreign Affairs article, "The Death of Dayton," McMahon and Western write that Mladic's recent arrest is an opportunity for the international community to renew its commitment to the Balkans.
Bosnia was once a poster child for successful postwar reconstruction; today, it is on the verge of collapse. The 1995 Dayton accord ended a war, but it also created a fractured polity ripe for exploitation by ethnic chauvinists.