MANIPUR, India, May 31 (UPI) -- Nature and the "street" both abhor a vacuum, and even after Sept. 11, 2001, it is those active in the "War of Revenge Against the Crusades" who are more adept at crafting tales designed to link the United States with the unemployment, rage and perception of helplessness that provides recruits to the jihad.
While conspiracy theories that seek to "prove" that the United States -- together with those familiar villains, the "Zionists" -- is engaged in a war against Islam, thus far such street gossip has permeated only the Muslim countries, principally Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan. The rest of the world has not been infected with this virus.
Indeed, a case can be made that the United States is more popular today in the poorer parts of the globe than it is in Europe. Unlike the period from the 1950s to the 1980s, when the United States was the target of the resentments and insecurities felt by those recently freed from colonization, from the time cable television spread in the mid-1980s,"street" perceptions of the United States outside the Muslim world have improved steadily. In the words of Jairam Ramesh, an Indian economist, while the cry may still be "Yankee, go home!", to this is added, "but take me with you."
For a superpower, the United States has been demonstrably inept in factoring in psychological attitudes and reflexes in countries visited by U.S. "experts" only in the safety of air-conditioned hotel and conference rooms. Thus, in Iraq the United States appointed an American "administrator" and Iraqi "advisers," when common sense would have indicated that it ought to have been the other way around.