Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


This is the Washington Post’s brief report on Bush’s stop in Albania. Yesterday’s New York Times had a longer front page story on the (nowadays) extraordinarily pro-American (and even pro-Bush) sentiment everywhere in Albania, which is 70% Muslim. A couple of excerpts from the NYT story:

"Albania is for sure the most pro-American country in Europe, maybe even in the world," said Edi Rama, Tirana’s mayor and leader of the opposition Socialists. "Nowhere else can you find such respect and hospitality for the president of the United States. Even in Michigan, he wouldn’t be as welcome."

It [Albania] was one of the first countries to send troops to Afghanistan and one of the first to join the forces in Iraq. It has soldiers in both places.

"They will continue to be deployed as long as the Americans are there," Albania’s president, Alfred Moisiu, said proudly in an interview.

Most recently, the country has quietly taken several former detainees from the base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, off the Bush administration’s hands when sending them to their home countries was out of the question. There are eight so far, and Mr. Moisiu said he is open to accepting more.

Mr. Rama, Tirana’s mayor, says he is offended when Albania’s pro-Americanism is cast as an expression of "provincial submission."

"It’s not about being blind," he said, wearing a black T-shirt emblazoned with the Great Seal of the United States. "The U.S. is something that is really crucial for the destiny of the world."

Discussions - 7 Comments

Interesting place. For Shakespeare and Twelfth Night afficionados, Albania is Illyria (Viola's "What shall I do in Illyria?"). Despite the reports of Albania being 70% Moslem (Albanians had to convert after the Turkish conquest), Wikipedia has it that Albania is tolerantly multi-religious within a large "nonreligious" (probably meaning non-attending) majority. Much intermarriage and all that. 95% Albanian/Illyrian ethnic.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Albania one of the last oppressively Stalinist countries in Europe to fall? I wonder if some of their pro-Americanism is due in part to having a recent memory of what it's like to live under such oppression. By contrast, the "evils" of America seem pretty darn good.

Right. The most closed of the closed commie states. Their tyrant was named Enver Hoxha, or something like that.

You border on the Adriatic!
Your land is mostly mountainous,
and your chief export is coal!
- Coach, "Cheers"

Sorry Fung--the chief export is chrome, not coal.

Darn those mneumonic songs about Albania! They always mess me up.

I was reading GWB's speech given in Prague last week. I like it.

America pursues our freedom agenda in many ways -- some vocal and visible, others quiet and hidden from view. Ending tyranny requires support for the forces of conscience that undermine repressive societies from within. The Soviet dissident Andrei Amalrik compared a tyrannical state to a soldier who constantly points a gun at his enemy -- until his arms finally tire and the prisoner escapes. The role of the free world is to put pressure on the arms of the world's tyrants -- and strengthen the prisoners who are trying to speed their collapse.

Maybe that makes more sense in Prague or Tirana than it does in Michigan.

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