AT LEAST SINCE the time Yahweh let Moses wander in the Sinai for 40 years, only to finally leave the Jews in the one Mideast place that does not have oil, it has been clear, as Golda Meir said, that God botched the job of assigning populations to places they really wanted to go.

Recent headlines are full of evidence of this fact. Haitians, Cubans, Cambodians, Vietnamese, Tibetans, white Rhodesians, white South Africans, Mexicans, Russians, industrialists negotiating with the steelworkers' union, and everybody within the billing area of Pepco in fetid August have all clearly decided that where they are is no place like they want to be.

And it's not like there's a shortage on this planet of reasonable places to live. Washingtonians spend fortunes on West Indian vacations at the same time that West Indians flock to London for jobs while British brains drain to Washington.

Obviously, world peace is not in the offing until such time as we get this all straightened out, once and for all. The United Nations is soon going to have to perform an uncharacteristically useful service by proclaiming World Resettlement Day.

That's the day we're finally going to get serious, pack up and put our bodies where our mouths keep saying we're going to go if Castro, Gandhi, Carter, Brezhnev, Khomeini, Trudeau, Pol Pot, Exxon, United Fruit, Mitsubishi, the American Broadcasting Co., the United Auto Workers, our spouses, foremen or the Farecard machines mess with our lives one more time.

That is it. Get it right this time or forever hold your peace.

Afghanistan, for openers, is the answer to the prayers of a millennium. Everybody who likes to mix it up with his neighbors get to go to Afghanistan, starting with the Cuban terrorists of Omega Seven. Want to fight communism? Fine. We've found the place where nothing you can do can conceivably make the landscape any bleaker. All the Afghans who consider this a bad idea get to leave for Pakistan, if they have not already, which seems unlikely. To the rest, we hand our National Guard armories. This will undoubtedly force the Russians to bring in Castro's troops. The more armaments we ship, the more likely Castro will have to go to Afghanistan himself to take command, what with half his people there. When he does that, we've solved the Miami problem.

With Castro gone, all the Miami Cubans can go back home, as they keep saying they want to. All those who still want to yell, "Guerra! Guerra!" get a free ticket to the Khyber Pass.

With all the Cubans gone, the economy of Florida will collapse, since the Cubans were the only ones who were into working. To solve that problem, we round up all the Indians and Pakistanis who have taken over the U.S. hotel and motel industry and ship them south to run the Fontainebleau. They'll be in heaven.

Of course, there won't be a Holiday Inn functioning then in the American Southwest, which will certainly cramp the free-wheeling social life of Gomorrah on the Pacific. But that's all right, too. It's always been crazy to have so many people in the Southwest. It's a desert, for God's sake.

The Los Angeles basin, as any son of the annual bungalow-slide races would know, only holds the natural resources for 200,000 people, max. That there are 7 million there now is self-evidently foolish. Especially when that sun-worshiping, car-devoted culture really needs to be in Saudi Arabia.

Shipping southern California to Saudi Arabia solves at least three problems: 1. It frees the Mexicans to retake the land that was rightfully theirs until we stole it in 1848 (though it might be tough to detect any transition since there already are 8 million Mexicans in the U.S. Southwest.) 2. It puts those who can't think of life without their Corvette or Rolls into a culture in which such artifacts are the most widely admired consumer goods, and where they can burn crude until they choke. 3. It exports a stiff dose of mellow to the place that needs it most -- the Persian Gulf.

Without southern California, of course, the automobile industry will collapse, leaving Detroit a ghost town. But that solves the Arab problem. Detroit already is ArabAmerica the way Los Angeles is MexAmerica. The Arabs want Lake Huron in winter? Fine. Theh've got it.

All except for the Lebanese militiamen, and everybody else in the Mideast who holds a grudge against their neighbors. Bang. Off to Afghanistan. I'll bet on the Cubans and give you six points.

Okay, admittedly, couscous in the Motor City will be the last straw for the Archie Bunkers of the industrial Northeast, but they've already announced that they were going to move to Australia right after the election, so that's a problem already solved. It will leave behind the southern blacks who moved north earlier in this century in one of the greatest migrations in history. With any luck, now that they're in control of most city halls in the Northeast, they'll have gotten the itch to travel out of their systems. They can stay right where they are, eradicate any trace of the old order and link up religiously with the Detroit Syrians in a peaceful, rich, Islamic nation.

The Haitians might find it inconvenient to paddle a few thousand more miles up the Atlantic, around Nova Scotia, down to the St. Lawrence Seaway and into the new nation, but if you want freedom . . .

Where were we? Okay, we've got all the rednecks in Australia, which fits perfectly. Australia, like most of the remnants of the British Empire, has had a long tradition of racism. The only reason that's not generally noticed is that Australia has only recently begun to allow Asians to settle there, which up to now has muted any conflict. New Zealand is the most boring nation on earth. That's where we put the people from Akron who want to start polyester farms or doubleknit the existing sheep flocks or whatever. If Newark vigilante Anthony Imperiale gripes about the decline in his power base, he'll love the crime in the streets of Kabul. Keep him busy for a long time.

The Southeast Asians get Haiti. Familiar climate, lots of ocean and empty. If they can just refrain from splitting along ethnic lines, establishing DMZs, pitting their own despots against each other and asking the United States to land Marines to settle their arguments, they've get the skills, social organization and education to produce one of the strongest gross national products per capita in the Caribbean. In conjunction with the newly repatriated Cubans, they can organize the vast resources and labor pool of the islands to bring paradise to paradise.

And if they don't, maybe we can write in a loophole to World Resettlement Day. There'll always be one place that anybody who wants to can move to at any time. Check with Tony Imperiale in the visa section.

The only thing that can conceivably stand in the way of this plan achieving total success is that it leaves the Israelis in Israel, where, perversely, they've always wanted to be. They'll be perfectly happy, now that we've defused all their traditional enemies. But with a peaceful Mideast, it will leave legions of newspaper people with nothing to write about. Headline writers will be out on the streets, begging for change.

Let's see, I guess I could move to . . .