Although it may appear that the aftershocks of September 11 have somewhat deposed the discourse of human rights and international law and replaced it with that of law and order, there is still a great deal to fight for. If anything, in fact, the new context makes it more urgent that there be solid rules of international criminal evidence and reliable institutions of international law. . . .The most vocal public opponent of the principles of "universal jurisdiction" is Henry Kissinger, who has a laughably self-interested chapter on the subject in his turgid new book Does America Need a Foreign Policy? (a volume, incidentally, that if it had any other merit might be considered as a candidate for title of the year). . . . It was utterly nauseating to see Kissinger re-enthroned as a pundit in the aftermath of September 11, talking his usual "windy, militant trash," to borrow Auden's phrase for it.
So V.S. Naipaul finally gets the prize.
It's said he's willing, through unblinking eyes,
To make his observations, then recall
The bleakest Third World countries, warts and all.
While valuing his writing, I still think
It wouldn't hurt if, now and then, he'd blink.
I would like an unbroken stretch of drizzly
weekday afternoons, in a moulting season:
nowhere else to go but across the street for
bread, and the paper.
Later, faces, voices across a table,
or an autumn fricassee, cèpes and shallots,
sipping Gigandas as I dice and hum to
No one's waiting for me across an ocean.
What I can't understand or change is distant.
War is a debate, or at worst, a headlined
nightmare. But waking
it will be there still, and one morning closer
to my implication in what I never
chose, elected, as my natal sky rains down