Monday, June 11, 2007

Bush and Albania

Much is being made of Bush's visit to Albania in the mainstream media. The progressive and left blogosphere has a much more balanced opinion of all this, noting that people in Albania held signs saying, among other things, that Bush was God's messenger.

It would be too easy to quip that the only place in Europe that Bush can get a positive reception is in a place ruled through terror and intense cult of personality for over thirty years. But that would be to underestimate the situation. Bush got a reception like that there because a generation of Albanians have been trained to respect authority figures that project a strong image.

These are people that spent most of their lives, certainly all of the formative period of their lives, immersed in Stalinist hero worship, with the various alternatives to it taken away because they were considered threats to the state. It takes a lot to undo that sort of thing, even if people are personally glad that the Communist regime is gone. Bush, the capitalist anti-terrorist, has stepped into shoes that were once filled by objects of worship like Hoxha.

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