Sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes you don't. Sometimes you feel like listening to President Almondjoy -- mix cocoa and coconut to get cuckoo nut -- of Iran and sometimes you would rather watch President Chavez pile up mounds of Venezuelan guano. In either case, visiting the United Nations is like taking a trip to Mars.
It is enough to make a grown man cry, like say for instance Senator Voinovich. He feared that if Ambassador Bolton were to become a fixture at the U.N., the Voinovich grandchildren might grow up in a world of confrontation. One look at Bolton's moustache would send the peaceful infants of our otherwise utopian future into paroxysms of apoplexy. And so the answer to the trivia question "What is the shortest sentence in the Congressional Record?" will always be: George wept.
As it turns out, there are scarier excrescences going out on limbs in the world body. (We should never forget W.C. Fields' line in The Bank Dick: "He called my proboscis an adscititious excretion.") Ahmadinejad sees no evidence a Holocaust occurred or Israel exists. A man of science, he has a particular interest in nuclear physics. Why make Sherlock Holmes deductions to accuse him of nefarious plots? His intentions are no doubt irenic, my dear Watson, if perhaps a bit addled.
Chavez is an Old School Commie, or perhaps Old Factory. Olfactorily he is challenged, that's for certain: he detects no sulfurous miasma anywhere in the U.N. building other than President Bush's diabolic wake. The United States, he says, is an imperialist power bent on oppressing and pillaging the blameless innocents of the world who whittle their olive branches in sylvan boughs. Perhaps, he thoughtfully suggests, the United Nations headquarters should be relocated to Venezuela. Sounds about right to me: Pollyanna wants a Caracas.
Although this makes for great comedy, the tragedy is immense. Like the Dupont grandson who killed the wrestling coach and Robert Durst who dismembered his old neighbor in Galveston, these are not ordinary loons. They are wealthy loons, who can afford to actualize their phantasmagoric worldviews. Every time we sit, not go, at a Citgo station, we are putting money in Chavez's pocket. At many of the other stations we are donating to Iran, a tad less directly.
Are there no solutions? Will oil be the dominant fuel for the foreseeable future? Will the United Nations be a haven for despots under the guise of a convocation for universal harmony? Is there no way to thwart these nonaligned countries from hamstringing us with their misalignment? As a semi-professional Scrabble player I am very aware that CANAILLE is an anagram for ALLIANCE.
We tried regime change in Iraq, but regimen change is proving much harder in the absence of regiment change. Ostracism is often effective but it requires unanimity that Russia, France and China will undo with pusillanimity. The diplomatic option is a sham, even if Bolton makes tonsorial adjustments. These guys just buy time and then sell us down the river; it's a bad business all around. What is left beyond illusion, delusion and collusion?
The truth, in an ultimate irony, is that the only answer is some small-scale imperialism, like terrorism in reverse. It worked in Libya, Serbia and Bosnia in one form or another. When North Korea disobeys us on missile testing, we drop a bomb or two on government buildings. In Iran, bomb the nuke labs. No need to decimate them like Osirak, just do some damage and stand by to do it again if they have the nerve to start them up again. (Lather, rinse, repeat.) Not quite surgical strikes, just shock therapy. Enough to intimidate them into submission, not enough to evoke a unified nationalistic response that metastasizes into a protracted, un-winnable war.
In the meantime, the inmates are taking over the asylum, not to mention the Manhattan parking spaces. The quacks are trying to pull us into the mire, knowing our phobia of quagmires. Trying to psych us out, they send us their prime psychos. No longer is the United Nations a bunch of old ladies wasting their time on gossipy intra-Venus gabfests; now we have a bunch of martial Martians. President Bush will have a devil of a time digesting this bunch of nuts.