Former Algerian Foreign Minister and U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is a patient and painstaking man of many complex international negotiations. But even he was forced to admit failure to get the two sides in the Syrian conflict to come together last month. So the misery and the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent Syrian civilians, including babies and children, goes on with no end in sight, aided and abetted by powerful governments.

At the same time across the world, another tyrannical regime was accused this week in a United Nations report of widespread crimes against its own citizens.

The crimes include systematic executions, torture, rape and mass starvation, "wrongs that shock the conscience of humanity," according to Michael Kirby, the retired Australian judge who chaired the U.N. commission of inquiry into the misdeeds of the secretive regime of North Korea. Shocking indeed, but not bad enough to shock China, which made it clear that it would block any attempt to bring North Korea to book.