One of the stranger things about East–West relations these days is the schizophrenic attraction to, and hatred of, Western culture that characterizes many foreign leaders and celebrities.
Did these mixed-up folk idealistically flock to the West, and then end up bitterly disappointed that their experience did not match their dreams, in the infamous manner of Sayyid Qutb (“The America That I Have Seen”)? The Egyptian intellectual Qutb leveraged his subsidized residence in Colorado into an unhinged and racist screed against Western popular culture; among his targets were provocative women, “primitive Negroes,” rampant divorce, and heartless capitalism. Qutb’s two years in the U.S. were the font of his anti-Western and Islamist thought, which he developed as a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. His work in turn inspired much of the anti-Americanism of al-Qaeda specifically and current radical Islam in general.