You might not have seen it debated, and American taxpayers might never have voted for it, but it seems that over the past 13 years, the US government has repeated the Marshall Plan, but in Afghanistan.
It was the Marshall plan which helped to rebuild and reconstruct a battered Europe after WW2. It now emerges that US spending in Afghanistan this century exceeds that spent in Europe from the late 1940s onwards:
"Some $113bn (£79bn) has already been spent by the US government on reconstruction in Afghanistan in 13 years. That's more than the $103bn (in today's money) it spent on helping to rebuild Europe after the Second World War."
So, Afghanistan must be well on its way to enjoying the wealth, stability and prosperity enjoyed by West Germany or the Netherlands, right? Er, not quite.
"For every dollar spent in Afghanistan, at least 29 cents disappears in fraud or wastage, based on figures from the US Commission on War Time Contracting. And even that 29 cents is a conservative estimate".
Both quotes in Jonathan Owen "We have worked with many brave Afghan policemen..but many are no longer there," i, 29/03/2016. The Independent version of the article is online here.
As a result of this, the Americans appointed John Sopko, a former member of the Department of Justice's organised crime force in Cleveland, as Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Since 2012, this organisation estimates it has saved $946 million, and levied dozens of criminal charges.
Whatever the Americans have been doing in Afghanistan since 2001, let no one say it is imperialism. By its very nature, imperialism takes more than it gives - and the Americans have given an enormous amount. Who they have given it to, and whether they had any mandate from their own voters for what is in effect a second Marshall Plan, is another matter entirely.....