"...Yesterday's featured clown was Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez - who took to the floor of the General Assembly to rip President Bush as "the devil."
Predictably, the applause was significant.
This, just a day after that crackpot from Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, fingered the United States for just about every problem under the sun.
Also to applause.
It makes you wonder: Given that America coughs up some $1.3 billion a year to keep the U.N. & Co. afloat, how much would it have to pay to have the organization shut down?
It would be well worth every penny.
Honestly, why should Americans pony up that kind of cash (Washington is Turtle Bay's top sugar daddy) to fund a forum for anti-American leftist kooks like Chavez or an unhinged, suspected terrorist from the '79 Iranian hostage crisis like Ahmadinejad? (And why should New Yorkers pay to live with endless traffic jams every fall?)
On Tuesday, the world body gave the Iranian president a prime-time televised forum in which to . . . bash America.
And lie through his teeth.
Then, yesterday, Chavez performed Act II, insulting Bush and railing against U.S. "domination, exploitation and pillage of peoples of the world."
That wasn't all, of course.
He charged that "hegemonistic pretensions of the American empire are placing at risk the very existence of the human species." Whatever that might mean.
And he demanded that Bush be hauled before a court on charges of genocide.
U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, to his everlasting credit, refused even to dignify Chavez's slurs - what he called "comic-strip" diplomacy - with a response.
(Bolton did defend Chavez's right to state his views, though, whether at the United Nations or in Central Park - adding that it's "too bad the people of Venezuela don't have free speech." Will somebody remind us why the Senate is giving Bolton such a tough time with confirmation?)
On his worst day, of course, Chavez is a cut above his buddy from Tehran - whose tirade not only libeled America, but championed the elimination of Israel while denying the Holocaust.
Same-old, same-old, you say?
But Turtle Bay is supposed to be a serious place, where serious leaders meet to resolve serious problems.
Like, say, Iran's nuclear threat.
Alas, the Security Council's Aug. 31 deadline for Tehran to stop enriching uranium or face possible sanctions has come and gone - with Iran vowing to keep the program going.
The council's response? French President Jacques Chirac actually backed off sanctions Monday, arguing for yet more "dialogue."
On a more mundane (though no less critical) level, the world body can't find the will to send in troops to protect the Sudan's war-torn Darfur region - just as it failed to prevent the Rwandan genocide in the '90s.
(On the other hand, U.N. officials did manage to pull off the biggest scandal in the history of the world - the $64 billion Oil-for-Food heist.)
But let's give Chavez credit for one good idea: He suggested the United Nations be moved to Venezuela.
Hey, there you go!
We'll pay for the moving van.
And then Donald Trump can build condos with a great East River view."
Yes, the applause was significant, and I had this daydream of Rudi Guiliani being the Mayor still, and declaring a national emergency so as to remove the classification of "international soil" from the UN and send in SWAT teams to arrest those breaking the law, and the dictates of common decency, as they threatened the President. It has never been more clear how much of a worldwide joke the United Nations has become, and it does irk me that we, it's major benefactor, remain the constant punchline.
Chavez has signed more than 80 international agreements with Iran, stating repeatedly that if international action is taken to prevent Iran from developing nuclear capacity, Venezuela will attack the United States. This is, of course, something I pray for. In one swell foop, such an attack would give us all the reason in the world to crush this penny ante dictator and send a message closer to home. Doesn't matter where in the world you are, fuck with us and you're 3-D*
*Definitely Done Dancing