Kathleen Parker

George Bush owes Hugo Chavez a thank-you note. The Venezuelan president's goofy performance at the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday made Bush look like Winston Churchill.

Waving a Noam Chomsky book about America's quest for global dominance, Chavez railed against Bush:

``Yesterday the devil came here,'' he said, referring to Bush's address to the U.N. ``Right here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of.''

Then he made the sign of the cross, looked heavenward and put his hands together as if to pray. I think we can fairly conclude that the weird have officially gone pro.

Chavez would be a hoot if he weren't so dangerous. As the leader of America's fourth-largest foreign oil supplier, he has undeserved power, both in the world and over the U.S. When he's feeling grumpy, he threatens to cut us off. Wouldn't we love not to have to entertain his mood shifts?

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she wouldn't dignify Chavez's remarks with a response, while Margaret Beckett, the British foreign secretary, said: ``It's hard to see it (Chavez's rant) as helpful."

But it was helpful, if only to allow the rest of the world -- and especially napping Americans -- to see what we have before us. Chavez is not alone in the assorted nut bowl. One of his pals is Bolivian President Evo Morales, who came to the U.N. waving a coca leaf, saying: ``Does this look like a drug to you?''

Both are buddies of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who recently hosted the 118 nations of the Nonaligned Movement -- a gathering of anti-yanquis, including Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that should have sent chills down American spines.

How many dots do we need before we notice the gathering storm?

Ahmadinejad, who has promised to wipe Israel off the map, complained to the group that the world shouldn't have to live under the nuclear threat of the U.S. Better, presumably, that the world should live under the nuclear threat of Iran?

In an accord that sparks cognitive dissonance among the sane, the nonaligned nations agreed. Their final declaration supported Ahmadinejad's position while urging that Tehran cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Feeling safer yet?

Even a stopped watch is right twice a day, and Chavez was right about one thing. He said U.S. consumerism was ``madness'' and that Americans are wasteful with oil and energy. Consuming less, he said, should be an environmental policy.

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
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