- By Robert ZeligerRobert Zeliger is News Editor of Foreign Policy.
Not to be outdone by all the Ronald Reagan-love in Europe these days, President George W. Bush is getting his own statue in a European square … in Fushe Kruje, Albania. (I’ll give you a moment to check your atlas… What’s that, you can’t find Fushe Kruje on any map? Here. And while I don’t read Albanian, yes, that is a photo of Bush on the town’s homepage.)
Bush visited the tiny Albanian village in 2007. He was the first U.S. president to visit the country post-communism.
“Albanians’ pro-Americanism has its roots in our attempts… to build our deserved future as a free nation, as a free country,” Prime Minister Sali Berisha told the crowd at the statue’s unveiling yesterday, according to Reuters.
The United States is still remembered fondly in Albania for leading NATO’s 1999 military campaign to halt Serbia’s ethnic cleansing of Albanians in Kosovo. Albania joined NATO in 2009, with Washington’s backing.
Bush’s 9.3 foot statue, with the former president in shirt-sleeves raising his left hand, was unveiled yesterday in a square that is also named after him.