NEW YORK, May 26 (UPI) -- America wants to open up a can of worms on Europe, and vicey versy. What we have here, in the words of the warden, is a failure to communicate.
Look, it's easy to understand. Europe is like an antique shop owner. He reads Vogue, listens to Edith Piaf records, and thinks that swarthy people from overseas are sometimes annoying, but never worth getting riled up about. His issue of the day is, "Do you think J-Lo can really be happy with
Ben? I think she's a wild child -- she'll eat that boy up."
America, on the other hand, is like a Jamaican nanny. "Don't you even THINK ABOUT parkin' your self in this playground where the children are." Swarthy people from overseas are a constant menace to be put in their place like butchers who refuse to cut the salami thin enough, or diaper delivery services who fail to show up on time. She's always waiting for that ONE infraction that goes over the line so she can say, "OK, that's it, I'm puttin' a regime change on you."
Now what's interesting is that the guy needs the Jamaican nanny. The reason he's able to have garden parties with chintz curtains on the buffet tent is that the nanny has basically intimidated all the low-life scum from visiting his neighborhood on Sunday afternoon.
"Oh dear," is his most frequent exclamation, as in, "Oh dear, why can't people just get along?"
To which the nanny replies, "You got to MAKE PEOPLE get along."
Both the antique shop owner and the nanny live in a world where people don't kill each other, as a rule, or even say upsetting things. But there's been some GANG ACTIVITY on the fringes of the neighborhood, and once you walk past the place where the bus don't stop no more you end up in a street full of crack dens and white-slavery operations.
So what do we do about it?
The partymeister says, "I never mix with that sort of person. We'll just leave them alone and they'll leave us alone."
The Jamaican nanny says, "Uh uh. No way. I'm not gonna shut up until they're boxed up and put in iron cages."
The guy says, "There are more civilized ways to deal with it."
"Like, maybe if we would start community improvement programs in their neighborhoods, encourage them to change their self-destructive behavior patterns, submit their grievances to the courts -- you know things like that."
"You wanna send the Crips and the Bloods to Sunday school class? They'll steal all the Bibles."
"Okay, fine. Just BE some kind of Charles Bronson vigilante, making up your own rules as you go along. Why do we have laws in the first place?"
And the nanny says, "The laws are for us. They're not made for scum."
"So it's a double standard? One set of laws for us and another set for them?"
Yes, it's a double standard. What annoys me about the Bush administration, though, is that they won't ADMIT that it's a double standard. There IS one set of laws for the West and another set of laws for the Third World. If we're going to be the world's policeman, we should make it clear what the laws are.
"OK, you live in the Forbidden Zone, you don't have commissary privileges. You over there, you're OK. You're just this side of the regime-change line. Don't mess up and you'll get early parole."
In other words, we've gotta start spelling this stuff out. If we don't, we do look like vigilantes.
The reason the Europeans don't like us is that we upset their keg party. They've been on spring break since 1991, when the Soviet Union broke up and there was no longer any fear of armies coming from the east. They believe in a new world with no wars and no armies at all, and with all kinds of Byzantine conflict resolution organizations with fancy names in places like Geneva and The Hague. I think all that stuff is great, but you've still gotta have a police force.
If the French and the Germans want to continue partying like it's 1999, then they need to invest in a few burglar alarms and home security systems. It's cynical to say, "Well, there are these guys over in the next county who have such a huge police force that, if anything really bad happens, we'll just dial long-distance 911."
But the reason they don't think that way is that they don't really believe anything bad will happen. Ever.
Bad things are gonna happen. The reason we KNOW they're gonna happen is that the world looks like New York City circa 1988 -- the richest people on the planet living right next to the poorest ones, and a lot of broken windows as a result. You've got two choices in a situation like that. You can hammer the criminals or you can give em stuff that's good for em. The only thing that works, we've learned, is when you do BOTH.
That's why we need BOTH the antique shop owner and the bossy nanny. The nanny wades into the South Bronx, padlocks the vice dens, and takes the junkies by the scruff of the neck. But here's where it gets diabolical.
After they've served their time, they get turned over to the guy for charm school training. They have to confess their addictions, admit their crimes, go to sensitivity training, and basically sit up like trained dogs and beg. That's what Europe does best. All these guys fear Guantanamo? Wait till they're rehabilitated in Brussels. Then we'll REALLY know the subways are safe.
(Joe Bob Briggs writes a number of columns for UPI and may be contacted at email@example.com or through his Web site at joebobbriggs.com. Snail mail: P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, Texas 75221.)