The Origins of the Paranoid Style in Middle Eastern Politics
Professor of Public Policy, Sultan of Oman Professor of International Relations, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
A common observation made by Western analysts of the Middle East is that the people of the region tend to ascribe their political and economic dysfunctions to dark – often quite elaborate – plots by malevolent outsiders (usually Westerners). Some have attributed this conspiratorial tendency to a penchant for magical thinking among Middle Easterners, whereas others have pointed to geopolitical factors that might render such beliefs rational. Masoud's project attempts to measure the extent of conspiratorial thinking among the general populations of Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey, and to explore the correlates of conspiratorial beliefs.