In 1947, Secretary of State George C. Marshall spoke at Harvard University and outlined what would become known as the Marshall Plan. His proposal was for the U.S. to offer up to $20 billion for relief to the nations of Europe (which had nothing to sell for hard currency after World War II) if the European nations could get together and draw up a rational plan on how they would use the aid. For the first time, they would have to act as a single economic unit. The Marshall Plan benefited the American economy as well since the money would be used to buy goods from the U.S. that were shipped across the Atlantic on American merchant vessels.
Greg Behrman, author of The Most Noble Adventure: The Marshall Plan and the Time When America Helped Save Europe, says a similar plan would benefit the Middle East. Behrman speaks Steve Inskeep.