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September 21, 2006
Hurricane Hugo Hits Turtle Bay

A tropical wind blew mightily through the halls of the United Nations General Assembly yesterday, launched by Latin America's biggest blowhard and an apparent candidate for Paxil. Claiming that George Bush was "El Diablo", Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez claimed he could still smell the sulfur at the podium from Bush's appearance the night before, delighting the usual crowd of tyrants and kleptocrats:

President Hugo Chavez, the combative Venezuelan leader, denounced President Bush in a U.N. speech Wednesday as a racist, imperialist "devil" who has devoted six years in office to military aggression and the oppression of the world's poorest people.

Speaking from the lectern where Bush spoke a day earlier, Chavez said he could still smell the sulfur -- a reference to the scent of Satan. Even by U.N. standards, where the United States is frequently criticized as the world's superpower, Chavez's remarks were exceptionally inflammatory. They were also received with a warm round of applause. ...

"Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world," Chavez told the chamber of international diplomats. "I think we could call a psychiatrist to analyze yesterday's statement made by the president of the United States. As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums, to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world."

Chavez apparently thought he could adapt Cindy Sheehan's protest rhetoric to impress New Yorkers, but it takes more than warmed-over Chomskyisms and a dash of religious hallucinations to shock people in the Big Apple or the United States. Unfortunately, the gathered representatives of governments around the world are more easily impressed by lunatic rantings -- or perhaps just more amused.

Chavez did more harm than good despite the resounding applause given to his speech. Venezuela has been strong-arming Latin America to get its seat on the Security Council. Up until yesterday, Chavez had made inroads with his neighbors, some of whom share his distaste for the Bush administration if not his paranoia. After his performance yesterday, though, analysts stated that Venezuela had little chance of allowing such a diplomatically inept regime control their representation.

It did more extensive damage than that. Chavez' rant went a long way to prove conservatives correct about endemic anti-Americanism in the United Nations. Even other nations appeared stunned by the ferocity of the remarks, such as China's foreign minister, who had to ask for confirmation of his remarks out of disbelief. The warmth of the reception of these remarks provided a stunning look at the hostility that the non-democratic nations have for the United States, especially in the General Assembly. It will add fuel to the fire for conservative skepticism of the body's effect on spreading freedom and liberty around the world, which is supposed to be one of the UN's core missions.

Instead, we see that the organization has increasingly been hijacked by petty petrocrats and hallucinating dictators as a vehicle for hatred and obloquy. When the leader of one sovereign nation uses the UN dais to issue thinly-veiled demands for the annihilation of another nation, and gets followed by a circus act that makes him look like a moderate, then we know that the inmates are running the Turtle Bay asylum. Yesterday, Chavez proved that all the UN is missing is enough straitjackets to go around.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 21, 2006 5:51 AM

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