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October 03, 2011

NY Times Reporter Explains Crazy Foreigners Believe Crazy Conspiracy Theories Published in the New York Times

Mark Mazzetti, a national security reporter for the New York Times, was just on Fresh Air to explain the mysterious ways of the orient:

GROSS: So anti-American sentiment seems if anything to be growing a bit in Pakistan. Why is that?

MAZZETTI: The number one conspiracy theory in Pakistan is that ultimately the Americans' goal is to take the nukes, that we have designs to ultimately take the nuclear weapons out of the hands of Pakistan's government because of concerns about, that they might fall into the hands of militants. So—so many of the conspiracies on the street in Pakistan sort of go back to that...

And so that is what's fueled so much of this anti-American sentiment in Pakistan...So as long as the U.S. is maintaining a presence in Pakistan, an intelligence presence and also with the drone strikes, I think you'll continue to see these conspiracy theories...

And here's a 2007 op-ed by two of the most prominent national security think tankers in the U.S., Frederick Kagan and Michael O'Hanlon, published in the New York Times:

...the United States simply could not stand by as a nuclear-armed Pakistan descended into the abyss...we would have to act before a complete government collapse, and we would need the cooperation of moderate Pakistani forces.

Somehow, American forces would have to team with Pakistanis to secure critical sites and possibly to move the material to a safer place...For the United States, the safest bet would be shipping the material to someplace like New Mexico.

Why are the filthy wogs so given to mass delusion? Is there something wrong with them genetically, or is it their culture? I suppose it could be both, of course.

(To be fair, Kagan and O'Hanlon do say it would be probably be impossible to get even "moderate" Pakistanis to let us literally steal their nuclear weapons, so we would "have to settle for establishing a remote redoubt within Pakistan, with the nuclear technology guarded by elite Pakistani forces backed up (and watched over) by crack international troops.")

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at October 3, 2011 02:02 PM

I don't know. That O'Hanlon's a pretty impressive fellow, what with his cute charts in the NYT and his ability to promote wars that get him more media appearances. I bet he could get take those nukes from Pakistan if he put his mind to it. At least it would be fun to watch him try.

Posted by: Fire Tom Friedman at October 3, 2011 02:49 PM

Messrs Kagan and O'Hanlon have taken leave of their senses.......Their writing seems very schizophrenic-ish!
And Mr Mazzetti of course never found the time in his busy schedule, reporting for NYT to talk to the families of civilians killed by drones so he has to go to the trouble of inventing "conspiracy theories" as to why the Pakistanis may not be very fond of Americans or America!!!
Only if we stopped dropping bombs, may be the ordinary Pakistanis will have the luxury of worrying about their nukes......and then, they may surprise Mssrs Kagan and O'Hanalan!!

Posted by: Rupa Shah at October 3, 2011 04:18 PM

Hey, I live in New Mexico. Can't they take the stolen nukes to Arizona instead?

Posted by: M Jacobs at October 3, 2011 05:12 PM

Speaking of crazy foreigners, and about New Mexico, and about war, I was reading Fred Reed, who is crazy and lives in a foreign place, specifically Mexico Viejo, and has some opinions and observations about war there and how it interacts with the Estados Unidos -

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at October 3, 2011 06:12 PM

Apparently the average Paki on the street has a better grasp of OUR foreign policy in the mideast than the average American. Sad.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 3, 2011 07:28 PM

since he is on the business end of american foreign policy, he better grasp it well.

Posted by: almostinfamous at October 4, 2011 01:05 AM

@Mike Meyer: 'Paki' may seem like simple shorthand slang, but is not; it's offensive. Though I expect you meant no slur.

Posted by: Nell at October 4, 2011 02:56 AM

lol- what a bunch of paranoids- next they'll be afraid of a terminator-like scenario, where the us unleashes evil robot airplanes which bomb the puny humans with no conscience whatsoever- o waiddaminute...

Posted by: frankenduf at October 4, 2011 09:22 AM

Nell: THANX 4 the headsup. I'm a redneck, so waddaya expect?

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 4, 2011 01:02 PM

Ya know, we have created these networks that can easily move huge amounts of drugs around and make huge amounts of money, with impunity, and we all have to pretend that the real problem is the insatiable appetite of teenagers for drugs.

Err, not just that.

As with all things capitalistic, expansion is part of the dynamic of drug trafficking, so err, guess what, the drug problem keeps getting worse and affecting new places all the time.

So so long Mexico Viejo, ola Mexico Bandido.

Something like that anyway.

Posted by: N E at October 4, 2011 03:49 PM

OT to be sure but to expand on NE's point. Drug dealers seem to be able to EMPLOY a lot of people AND pay a better than living wage, even while handicaped by being awash in cash, much like wallstreet.

(how's that for a political slogan)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 4, 2011 05:14 PM

Mike M, please don't put that on your bumper. The cops will follow you, and stop you, and get angry when you don't have a cut to offer them.

Posted by: grimmy at October 4, 2011 08:31 PM

The "craziest" conspiracy theories have always been the true ones.

Take the conspiracy theory between symbiont microbes and symbiont humans for example.

Posted by: Dredd at October 5, 2011 11:37 AM

grimmy: Though tempting, YOU make a good point. Still, its problematical when the "pillars-of-the-community" are less desirable to be around than the criminals.

Nell: Pakistan is the proving grounds, the new Gurnica if YOU will, for robot warfare.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 5, 2011 12:57 PM