CARGO CULTS: John Derbyshire has an interesting theory on why people misunderstand the U.S.: They’re looking at things “bass-ackward”:
Another thing, I think, is that pretty much all of the Arab world is locked in a kind of cargo-cult mentality. Cargo cults came up in the Melanesian islands of the South Pacific during WWII. The peoples of these places saw the Americans and British come in and build airstrips. Then, when the airstrips were built, planes started to arrive, loaded with cargo. The Melanesians deduced, not altogether unreasonably given their state of knowledge, that if they built airstrips, then planes would come to them, too, likewise bringing cargo. They accordingly hacked makeshift runways out of the jungle and built mock-up control towers out of grass and mud. Then they sat and waited for the cargo to arrive.
You get a cargo-cult flavor in a lot of Third World countries. America has skyscrapers. America is rich and strong. Let’s build some skyscrapers