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Construction and Reconstruction Efforts in Nation Building: Planning for Everything in Afghanistan Except the Afghans

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Technical Report

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Air Command And Staff College Maxwell Air Force Base United States

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The US has been involved in nation building efforts across the world since the Marshal Plan in Europe. The Marshal Plan is a paradigm for nation reconstruction efforts. An expenditure of over 100 billion dollars in 2014 money between 1948 - 1952 was the foundation that helped rebuild the economies of 16 countries in Europe. The US has now surpassed this level of spending on the construction projects in Afghanistan, yet the Afghan economy shows little sign of long-term progress. One interesting comparison between the rebuilding efforts includes how the recipients were involved in the two colossal tasks. In his speech at Harvard University, Secretary of State George Marshall said It would be neither fitting nor efficacious for this Government to undertake to draw up unilaterally a program designed to place Europe on its feet economically. This is the business of the Europeans. The initiative, I think, must come from Europe. The Marshal Plan could be described as the US helping Europeans help themselves. However, as we review the involvement and participation of the Afghans in the effort to rebuild Afghanistan, it could be described as the US paying American and international contractors to build a US solution for the Afghans to be more like Americans. Large reconstruction efforts without buy-in and integration of the local population have yielded results that fall far short of what could have been achieved with the participation of the host nation.

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