Hey, I thought our international image had been utterly destroyed by Bush?
Bush Receives Hero’s Welcome in Albania
President Bush, enthusiastically welcomed as the first U.S. president in this former communist nation, served notice Sunday he is running out of patience with Russia’s objections to independence for neighboring Kosovo.
"Sooner rather than later you’ve got to say `Enough’s enough – Kosovo is independent,’" Bush said, telling Albanians what they wanted to hear. He said independence was a certainty.
Nearing the end of an eight-day trip, Bush got a hero’s reception in this desperately poor country, still struggling to recover from being cut off from the rest of the world for four decades under the harsh rule of dictator Enver Hoxha. Hoxha died in 1985, and Albania emerged from isolation in 1990 but still is one of Europe’s most impoverished lands.
Cannons boomed salutes from mountains overlooking the capital. Huge banners proclaimed "Proud to be Partners," and billboards read "President Bush in Albania Making History."
And it’s a predominantly Muslim country to boot! After suffering for so many years under communism they have fallen in love with Democracy. Mark Noonan notices the similarities:
while President Bush lacks popularity in a lot of the world, it seems that he does best in lands most recently suffering under dictatorship. He’s liked far more in the Czech Republic than in Germany; far more in Poland than in France; far more in Albania than Britain. Perhaps those who have a living memory of tyranny have better perception than those long protected by US power?
Funny how that works huh?
Those who have lived under brutality understand how precious freedom is. They understand that is what America has, and wish to have it also. The small country even sends troops to help in Iraq and Afghanistan:
Albania has 140 troops in Afghanistan and about 120 troops in Iraq – a presence that President Alfred Moisiu says will not end as long as the Americans are engaged there. Bush met here with some of the troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And in some respects they are way ahead of us:
In a move aimed at creating a friendlier investment climate and making the economy more competitive, the Albanian government approved a fiscal package last week that includes implementing a 10% flat tax — the lowest level in Southeast Europe. Corporate taxes will also be slashed to 10%.
In the end it seems we got ourselves a real ally, and a real friend in a Muslim country. A country that was devastated during Russia’s rule over it and one that deserves our support to get Kosovo a statehood of it’s own. Russia doesn’t agree, but it’s not like they are our friends anymore….if they ever were. Austin Bay Blog has a bit more on that angle:
Like I wrote in my post about Russia and ABMs, Kosovo represents a real clash of US-Russia interests. And as I noted, Brzezinski didn’t cover Kosovo in his Time Magazine essay. Why the blind spot? Some of the comments on that post offer speculations. Following Occam, there are too likely reasons: either it didn’t fit with his anti-Bush tirade or he forgot about it. The Bush Administration is “following the arc” of the Clinton Administration’s Kosovo policy. In other words, the Bush Administration is pursuing a multi-administration policy goal — one crossing party lines. I think it very likely that a Democrat administration will do the same on Iraq.
I vote that it didn’t follow along his anti-Bush tirade. How could he insult Bush for continuing what the perjurer started, support for Albania and Kosovo against Russia and Serbia. Seems like a story that the MSM must of been gritting it’s teeth reporting right? You betcha. Here is the New York Times:
But here in Albania, which has not wavered in its unblinking support for American policies since the end of the cold war, Mr. Bush can do no wrong. While much of the world berates Mr. Bush for warmongering, unilateralism, trampling civil liberties and even turning a blind eye to torture, Albania still loves him without restraint.
[…]Albanians’ support for the war in Iraq is nearly unanimous, and any perceived failings of American foreign policy are studiously ignored. A two-day effort to find anyone of prominence who might offer some criticism of the United States turned up just one name, and that person was out of the country.
Of course what the Times is accusing him is complete and utter ignorance and BDS but that two day effort to prove that someone, anyone must hate Bush is quite impressive. Lots of time devoted to that task. I mean we’ve seen stories about people burned alive with less effort taken to get the story right.
No bias there…nope, none.