The new United Nations envoy to Syria had the good sense to try to beg off. Former Algerian foreign minister and veteran U.N. troubleshooter Lakhdar Brahimi is 78 years old and has seen more than his share of war and peace, and then more wars again, in North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. He leads a pleasant life in Paris now, as a distinguished elder statesman on the global stage. One of his children, Rym Brahimi (the former CNN correspondent), is a princess in Jordan, and he’s an adoring grandfather. Brahimi himself is so genteel and so pleasant in social intercourse that any of us who’ve met him must wish him ease in his golden years.