What would be so terrible about giving those good nations someplace else to meet? And by good, I mean democratic. A league, or concert, of democracies wouldn’t replace the U.N., but it would offer some much-needed competition.

We’ve had to go around the U.N. before, and usually we go to NATO. That’s what President Clinton did in the Balkans and what President Obama did in Libya. Now Hillary Clinton wants an ad hoc “friends of a democratic Syria” similar to the coalition that helped topple Moammar Kadafi (and Saddam Hussein).

That’s all fine, but there are problems with making these things up as you go. NATO is a military alliance. Many friends of a democratic Syria are not, themselves, democratic.

A permanent global clubhouse for democracies based on shared principles would make aiding growing movements easier and offer a nice incentive for nations to earn membership in a club with loftier standards than mere existence.