Re: The paranoid obsession with extraterrestrials
With regard to paranoid hysteria, I speculate that it's the socially-conditioned response that is optimal for people in power to stay in power - it's not the fact that it's a different species that frightens those in power, but the fact that the extraterrestrial species might see the pathologically insane way they stay in power. And might have a way to stop it.
So, continuing with this paranoid notion, pitting humans vs. extraterrestrials means that even if the extraterrestrial species WANTED to help humans, they couldn't do it safely. Fear is a powerful motivator, and people's motivations can be subject to the various tones broadcast by media. Then again, this is speculation presupposing that the extraterrestrials even cared to interact with us.
On the far end of the paranoid spectrum, and I mean WAY far end, if you have something that looks "alien-ish", like the B-52 Bomber during the Civil War era? It means that you can create a reason to pour TRILLIONS of dollars, like the entire funds of the entire Earth, into a program to defend against things like it.
Again, all speculation. But, follow the money?