Which country around the world loves conspiracy theories the most? I always thought Italy, with its long history of Machiavellian plotting, might win that award, but the New York Times makes a case for Pakistan:
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Americans may think that the failed Times Square bomb was planted by a man named Faisal Shahzad. But the view in the Supreme Court Bar Association here in Pakistan’s capital is that the culprit was an American “think tank.”
No one seems to know its name, but everyone has an opinion about it. It is powerful and shadowy, and seems to control just about everything in the American government, including President Obama.
“They have planted this character Faisal Shahzad to implement their script,” said Hashmat Ali Habib, a lawyer and a member of the bar association.
Who are they?
“You must know, you are from America,” he said smiling. “My advice for the American nation is, get free of these think tanks.”
Conspiracy theory is a national sport in Pakistan, where the main players — the United States, India and Israel — change positions depending on the ebb and flow of history. Since 2001, the United States has taken center stage, looming so large in Pakistan’s collective imagination that it sometimes seems to be responsible for everything that goes wrong here.
“When the water stops running from the tap, people blame America,” said Shaista Sirajuddin, an English professor in Lahore.
The problem is more than a peculiar domestic phenomenon for Pakistan. It has grown into a narrative of national victimhood that is a nearly impenetrable barrier to any candid discussion of the problems here. In turn, it is one of the principal obstacles for the United States in its effort to build a stronger alliance with a country to which it gives more than a billion dollars a year in aid…
[continues in the New York Times]