Pakistani Paranoia

Thursday on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, Pervez Hoodbhoy, a prominent Pakistani professor in Islamabad, said a couple of things that Americans should pay attention to, particularly those whose foreign policy philosophy amounts to, “We are Americans, and nothing else matters.”

Travelling with Secretary of State Clinton in Pakistan, Ms. Mitchell was questioning the professor about Clinton’s three-day “charm offensive,” the purpose of which is to improve relations between the U.S. and Pakistan, and to gain some degree of trust among the Pakistani people.  Professor Hoodbhoy, who has previously written, “Pakistan is probably the most anti-American country in the world,” replied to Mitchell’s question:

The purpose of the charm offensive is to reduce the level of anti-Americanism in Pakistan, which is at a very high level.  And one sees all kinds of conspiracy theories.  In fact even the suicide bombings that are carried on—people say, “Ah, it’s really the Americans who are trying to destabilize Pakistan,” and so forth.

On the one hand, it is somewhat comforting to know that the Beck-Hannity-Limbaugh phenomenon isn’t just a distinctly American affliction, and that paranoid conspiracists are not limited to jobs as Fox “News” commentators or bombastic blowhards on American radio. 

On the other hand, it is rather dispiriting that a country—so vital to our success in rooting out and destroying al Qaeda—largely doesn’t trust American intentions.  We must ask ourselves, just what kind of opinion do average Pakistanis hold of Americans, if they can entertain the notion that we are behind the suicide bombings in Pakistan?

Professor Hoodbhoy laments the state of his society:

What we see today in Pakistan is paranoia, and I think that we’ve got to the point where it’s become ridiculous where all of our ills are being blamed on America.

I’m sure the professor would find little solace in the fact that here in America, the right-wing is blaming all of our ills on Barack Hussein Obama, and is steadfastly resisting our president’s efforts to improve our country’s image around the world.

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