June 13, 2007
Why Do They Love Us?By Julia Gorin
For a single day, George W. Bush knew what it felt like to be Bill Clinton. In Albania on Sunday, Bush got the Clinton treatment-being adored, cheered, hugged, reached for, applauded. And little wonder: Bush reiterated American support for Kosovo independence, gratifying the jihad-enabling Albanian goal for a "Greater Albania."
His reception in Tirana is the kind of instant gratification you get when you pursue fluffy, Clinton-like policies, in this case an actual Clinton policy-instead of sticking to your guns and doing the harder thing, the right thing. Bush is experiencing the adulation that comes with taking the easier road, the politically expedient path, the more popular and politically correct direction.
It feels good, and it's dangerously addictive. Once you've tasted the devil's love, it's that much harder to go back to doing the right thing. Just ask Bill Clinton.
Clinton's the man whose 25-foot portrait smiles from a mural over Pristina and whom Kosovo is honoring with a 10-foot-tall monument for "handing a victory to the Kosovo Liberation Army," Reuters reported last month. The statue will be located on Clinton Boulevard, and the New York Times reports that thousands of Albanians have been naming their children Bill and Hillary. So that just as the name "Muhammad" overtakes "Jack" in England, there will be thousands of little Muslims running around named Bill and Hillary.
Such tributes are frequently cited as evidence of Albanian pro-Americanism, though any honest follower of the Clinton presidency and beyond knows that if your pro-Americanism has Bill Clinton as its mascot, you're the opposite of pro-American. Given that the Kosovo war was the culmination of Clinton's foreign policy, Albanian pro-Americanism should be cause for concern.
"Certainly, Pristina may have streets named after Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright now," writes Balkans observer Nebojsa Malic. "But already the Albanians of Kosovo believe that independence is the very least they are due, and don't hesitate to attack UN officials or NATO troops that are perceived to stand in the way."
Not exactly a display of the "long-term gratitude" which Albanian leaders assure us of, both in Kosovo and Albania-which insists on Kosovo independence. The recent experiences of United American Committee founder Jesse Petrilla in Kosovo reaffirm this. "The Kosovo Muslims are of course grateful," he wrote, "yet I spoke with several dozen of them about their allegiances and it was blatantly clear that their allegiance was to the east, towards Mecca, and certainly not to the West. Where will their allegiances be once they get their way and have an independent state?"
But as long as Bush blocks out the implications for the world of an independent Kosovo as separatist movements everywhere sit on their haunches watching what happens there, he can enjoy the Albanian "hero's welcome" that's normally reserved for the region's Christian killers returning from the Hague either acquitted or sentenced to time served. It's no wonder Albania "was among the first American allies to support Washington's refusal to submit to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court," as Sunday's New York Times article mentioned. And you too can have a street or boulevard named after you in Kosovo or Albania if you kill a Serb or two, or a thousand.
"Albanians know the horror of tyranny," the AP reported the president's words on Sunday. "And so they're working to bring the hope of freedom to people who haven't known it...[Albania has] cast off the shackles of a very oppressive society and is now showing the world what's possible."
The Afghani mujahedeen cast off the same shackles, yet "freedom" wasn't exactly their end game. But to the Bush administration with its Soviet expert at the helm of the State Department and still fixated, the Soviet Union is still Public Enemy Number One.
"Us Macedonians and the Serbs may not be the best," writes one reader, "but the Albanians are certainly not the victims they pretend to be. They support many activities that will hurt many people in the world and we must stop defending them."
In describing the unflinching support that Albania has had for the U.S. even as regards the Iraq war, media reports have cited the 140 Albanian troops in Afghanistan and 120 in Iraq. No one ever mentions the 1,000 Serbian combat troops and police officers that Serbia volunteered to send to Afghanistan in 2003-and that's after the U.S. bombed Serbia back to the Dark Ages. Indeed, despite betrayal after betrayal by the U.S., most Serbs haven't turned to America-hating, but rather maintain an understanding that America is overall a force for good in the world. That's worth a lot more than good will that's bought. Yet what a lonely place it must be for a non-terrorist state: on the wrong side of the world's Good Guy from day one, no matter what you do for eight years to roll over.
But friends are there to abuse for as long as it takes to win over natural-born enemies. Though after this latest betrayal-the Kosovo giveaway-when our efforts with Albania and Kosovo leave us where our Bosnian efforts did, we could have more enemies than we bargained for.
For now, however, it feels good-and, reports the New York Times, the American firm Bechtel was awarded a contract to build Albania's largest public spending project ever: a highway linking Albania and Kosovo, sowing the seeds for the return to the Nazi-created Greater Albania of WWII. Linking up Albania with Kosovo is a no-no, we've told the Albanians, but the UN said the same to them about Kosovo independence in 1999. In the end, the United States of America will have created the United State of Albania.
"Three stamps have been issued featuring Bush's picture and the Statue of Liberty," according to the AP report, "and the street in front of parliament has been renamed in his honor." So now Bush's image, too, will be emblazoned upon the emblems of Western capitulation to Islamic will.
The Kosovo war was meant to protect Clinton's legacy by being his ticket out of a squalid Lewinsky legacy. Instead, it has become Bush's unintended legacy, marring a comparatively respectable presidency and an otherwise principled stand against terrorism. The Clintons are indestructible, but they have a knack for destroying others, particularly those who do their bidding. Since nothing sticks to Clinton, it is Bush for whom history will reserve its harshest judgment when Islamist and separatist groups the world over will use "the Kosovo precedent."
There is already a Russian pop novel, currently being translated into English, set in a year 2050 dystopia in which Europe is under Sharia Law. It's called The Mosque of Notre Dame de Paris, and Kosovo is the death blow.