This is what I felt when I had an interaction recently with a bunch of Afghans who appear to have started their traditional relationships with our plainspeople once again. And why not? Their experience with the West over the past 40 years might have finally convinced them that a view of the Hindu Kush induces lunacy in Western governments.
When American soldiers and civilians poured into Afghanistan after the Taliban's fall they were undaunted by Soviet failures or setbacks in their early efforts to develop southern Afghanistan that left fields barren and speckled with salt. Instead, they too lavished money on the country, apparently convinced they could buy a path into modernity for a place battered by war,hobbled by poverty and illiteracy and where only one in five women could read or write her name and barely half of the country's men. The US has spent more than $90bn (£55bn) on reconstruction and relief in Afghanistan since then, which, adjusted for inflation, is still far more than any country received under the Marshall plan to rebuild Europe after the second world war, according to the American government's special inspector general for Afghanistan.
I'm not sure if that $90 billion represents chump change in multi-trillion dollar economies, but it is a substantial sum over here. And it was put to good use -
That money has bought dramatic achievements, including a leap of millions in the number of children enrolled for school (though it is less clear how many actually attend), and a significant fall in the number of women who die in childbirth and in children who die easily preventable deaths, along with a steady growth in the country's economy.
Yet this is simply a recapitulation of history.
The Soviets too spent heavily on Afghanistan and at the peak of their influence in the 1980s, Soviet projects produced well over half the country's power, three-quarters of its factory output and almost all the government's tax income, according to Aiding Afghanistan, a history of spending by the west's old enemy as it struggled to transform the country.
Despite Afghanistan's many steep valleys and fierce rivers, the biggest power station built since 2001 has been a set of diesel-powered generators in southern Kandahar which are so expensive to run that officials warn they will only stay on while the US pays for the fuel.
To add to the lunacy theme, after all of the decades-long the anti-Islamist, anti-terrorism posturing, it seems Mr Abdul Rasul Sayyaf is a legitimate candidate in the Afghan elections! A canned history is provided in the lucid summary.
Born 1946. A former mujahideen leader and hardline Islamist, he is the man who first invited Osama bin Laden to Afghanistan after he was ejected from Sudan. He also gave his name to the Philippine insurgent group Abu Sayyaf, and the 9/11 commission reports mention him as "mentor" to the attack's mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. In Afghanistan, his political contributions have included opposing women's rights provisions and helping pass a bill giving amnesty to those who committed war crimes during the country's brutal civil war. He is generally thought to be too hardline to win even in modern Afghanistan, but like Ghani has teamed up with a popular former militia leader – Ismail Khan, commander and then governor of western Herat – who can command a block vote.
I am not as convinced as the Guardian that Mr Sayyaf cannot win. A combination of the anti-Soviet Sayyaf as President leading US-trained forces against the Taliban would appear to be too convoluted (or lunatic) a scenario for the imagination. And yet matters may soon head that way.