RANGER AGAINST WAR: The Marshall Plan <

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Marshall Plan

You have to have a positive strategy to make more partners and fewer terrorists. Harry Truman and George Marshall took a little bit of our money to build a world that had more friends and better enemies. Foreign assistance is national security--not charity. the Marshall Plan saw it that way and we have to do the same today.
--Bill Clinton

After considerable thought, I find there is no clear explanation for the expenditure of U.S. dollars flowing endlessly into the bottomless pit called Iraq. Strangely, there isn't even a name for this program.

Marshall and the U.S. were proud to implement the economic recovery program for Europe. The father gave the baby his name, while Iraq remains a bastard child though the father is clearly known. Why hasn't it been dubbed the "Bush Plan"?

The answer is, because it is not a plan so much as an ad hoc throwing of money at a nebulous problem. The Marshall Plan was carefully planned, crafted and applied to achieve U.S. foreign policy goals. The Plan was an investment in America, as well as in Europe.
There is no one this side of an insane asylum that would call the $8 billion squandered monthly in Iraq an investment. This money will never bear dividends to the average American taxpayer or U.S. policy.

An alternate view of the Marshall Plan is that the success was achieved by the recipient nations. The U.S. bankrolled the program, but the successes were indigenous national expressions of growth and hope in a better future. The pen (or typepad) will not allow any comparisons of this phenomenon to the current Afghan and Iraq scenarios.

The U.S. Marshall Plan was a barrier to Soviet economic expansion [91] and a loan/grant program that was to be repaid by the recipient European neighbors. The Plan rebuilt friends and enemies alike.

It must be stressed that the plan was not initiated until the fighting stopped, and after the Germans reintegrated back into the European community. Trying to rebuild a country while active combat is taking place is equivalent to spitting in the wind.

Another point is that the Marshall Plan had strings attached [90]. Simple things like requiring recipient nations to end colonialism and protectionist import quotas. In effect, the U.S. was financing its foreign markets, a role simlilar to that now played by China with the U.S., as their funds are financing our purchases of their export commodities.

The only difference between these programs is that China's developed without the antecedent of a military victory. In today's world, the economic victory is more desireable than success in a military fray. Unfortunately the U.S. leadership is all but ignorant of this evolution, save on the personal level.

So the question remains: What are the hundreds of billions of dollars buying for the U.S. taxpayers? If anything, this expenditure is more detrimental to the U.S. future than the terrorist threat could ever be (and on the latter point, it will only serve to aggravate the problem to an unknown degree.) We are burying ourselves in untenable debt, which is ultimately what destroyed the Roman, British, French and Soviet empires.

U.S. foreign and fiscal policy must become based in reality before it's too late to recover.

[page references are to the book PostWar--A History of Europe Since 1945, Tony Judt (Penguin 2005).]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are there for the OIL!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 at 10:29:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Yeah, but it would've been cheaper to just buy the oil. We'll be paying out disability comp for 30,000 wounded vets so far. Most will live another 50 years. You can figure the cost.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 at 9:00:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right. I wonder why that wasn't the option taken -- simply buy the oil -- especally since we could have rehabilitated Saddaam and made him our lackey again! The real reasons we are there must very different from any that we have heard. GSJ

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 at 9:41:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Using the word the "real reason" would imply that our policy is operating within reasonable realistic parameters; there is no indication that this is the case. I'm starting to accept the belief that Bush may actually be mentally deficient and unstable.

As I see it, Saddam would be preferable to anything we have seen over the last almost 4 years.

The unstable perception of Bush is actually the more charitable viewpoint. One could also see him as a Saudi agent, or a Big Oil agent attempting to destabilize oil prices. But I'm not a conspiracy theorist, normally...

Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 2:34:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well...now that you've brought it up -- meaning the President's mental state -- I would add that his mental dexterity is obviously much less than it was when he was running for governor in the Texas back in '95 or so. I saw excerpts from an interview he did at that time and was stunned by the difference between his verbal ability then compared to now. He's basically gone from being well-spoken (if not eloquent) to being limited to repetition of rehearsed soundbite sentences. The thought crossed my mind that his past alcohol and drug experiences must have had a cumulative, if delayed, impact on his brain. GSJ

Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 9:39:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

GSJ--I'll drink to that.

Friday, December 22, 2006 at 11:20:00 AM GMT-5  

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