The emperor inspects his adoring minions
[Update: Bush’s wristwatch disappeared while he was being mobbed. It would seem that the whole America-loving act was just a nationwide scam to steal his watch!]
Bush's reception in Albania yesterday was in keeping with history. When the Turks overran Southern Europe, the Albanian's converted and offered themselves up as foot soldiers. When the US decided to carve up the Balkans, the Albanian's were only too willing to collaborate with them, especially given the incentive of a land grab. Given their tendency to toe the line and fall in with whoever seems to have the greater firepower or manpower, joining the US alliance was a no-brainer. With over 700 military bases in around 130 countries, the American Empire has the one thing Albanian's respect: military might.
The servility that was on display was breath taking. One placard held up by some ignoramus claimed that Bush was 'God's messenger'. The Albanian President, a professional brown noser, claimed that Bush was the "greatest and most distinguished guest we have ever had in all times." Going back in time you can just imagine him making exactly the same statement to any other imperial leader. This guys grovelling technique would be identical in the presence of a Turkish sultan. The president then added: "We are determined to take any decision, pass any law and undertake any reform to make Albania appropriate to receive the invitation" to join the western military alliance. Why doesn't he just sign over the entire country while he's at it?
Give the Albanian's credit though, the sucking up was not a spur of the moment thing. Their ability to mobilise the entire resources of the state with the single aim of sucking up on an industrial scale is unrivalled. In anticipation of his arrival three stamps had recently been issued featuring Bush's picture and the Statue of Liberty, and the street in front of parliament had been renamed in his honour. Albania has also been only too happy to contribute mercenaries for the Empire's illegal, and more importantly, immoral, invasions.
Bush's usual intellectual prowess was on display. On Saturday in Rome, the president agreed there should be a deadline to end the UN talks on Kosovo, saying "In terms of a deadline, there needs to be one - it needs to happen." But Sunday, less than 24 hours later, Bush tried to backtrack when asked when that deadline might be. "First of all, I don't think I called for a deadline," Bush said at an appearance with Prime Minister Sali Berisha in the courtyard of a government ministry building. He was reminded that he had. "I did?" he asked, sounding surprised. "What exactly did I say? I said 'deadline?' O.K., yes, then I meant what I said. The question is whether or not there is going to be endless dialogue on a subject that we have made up our mind about. We believe Kosovo ought to be independent." What a clown!
Interestingly, the prime ministers of 'Macedonia' and Croatia, also travelled to Albania to meet Bush for what must have been a cosy meeting. Croatia was an instrumental ally in the break up of Yugoslavia, receiving US training and funding. 'Macedonia' is a frankenstein, makeshift state. Their permission to allow NATO to use their territory as a staging point for the 1999 bombing should not be forgotten. What goes around comes around. With a separatist Albanian militia in 'Macedonia' already established, they might end up rueing the day that they aided and abetted the US and Albania.
Links about Bush's visit:
Herald Tribune report
Free Republic report
2 articles I found on US bases:
US military bases around the world
America's empire of bases
serbia president bush visits albania military bases