As four $1.8 billion US warships closed in on Syria  last week ArabianMoney was minded to think that the cost of these ships was far from immaterial in the context of the tiny $75 billion Syrian economy.
Indeed if the many trillions spent by the US and its allies on wars in the Middle East since 9/11 could have been spent on peaceful economic projects then the region would have been transformed into a 21st century version of the fabled Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Still if the civil wars, protests and revolutions of the Arab Spring could somehow be brought to a political conclusion sooner rather than later then this happy conclusion might still be reached rather than a future of endless wars between the tribes of the region.
The US does have a long tradition of imposing peace and order and democracy through its military strength, albeit with the assistance of its loyal allies. That’s the only reason Germany and Japan have enjoyed their economic miracles. Could the same not now be done for the Middle East?
It would definitely have to be a sort of G20 solution, embracing the support of many nations, many of them with far different political institutions to those that underpin the US constitution. But if this sort of consensus of commonsense could be realized then it is an eminently achievable project.
The amounts of money required are very small, particularly in comparison to the amounts already spent on the military machines now bogged down in the region and wanting an exit plan.
Besides the region already has all the wealth required for its transformation in the accumulated wealth of the Oil States in their sovereign wealth funds who would actually have the most to gain as the biggest investors in a New Middle East.
Of course this would be messy and a matter of horse and camel trading. Such grand designs are seldom clear cut. It would also have to be imposed from the outside in the end, or it would never be agreed.
Could the US have accidentally found a solution to Syria when US Secretary John Kerry gave his off-the-cuff response to a question about how Syria could avoid being bombed? This quickly led to a chemical weapons disarmament proposal  from Russia last night.
But perhaps there is more to work on here and a Middle Eastern economic boom could follow from the dust of the post 9/11 years, if a peaceful solution can be found for Syria.