Thousands took to the streets, not to protest, but to shower President Bush with a most emotional, heartfelt welcome.
President George W. Bush is covered with the hands of Albanians as he's greeted with an outpouring of welcome Sunday, June 10, 2007, during a stop in Fushe Kruje. The stop marked the first time a sitting U.S. president has visited the country. White House photo by Eric Draper
What's this? Don't those Albanians get CNN? Don't they know that according to John Kerry President Bush has made the U.S. an "international pariah?" And haven't they heard that according to Jimmy Carter President Bush is the "the worst in history" when it comes to international relations?
Courtyard Council of Ministers
June 10, 2007
PRIME MINISTER BERISHA: (As translated.) Today is a beautiful day. Today is a great day, historic for all Albanians. Among us is the greatest and most distinguished guest we have ever had in all times, the President of the United States of America, the leading country of the free world, George W. Bush.; his lady, Mrs. Laura Bush, and their close aides. For me, it's a great honor, and a special pleasure to thank them with gratitude and extend the most heartfelt welcome, in this historic visit, the first visit ever of a United States President in Albania.
Thank you heartily, Mr. President, from the bottom of our hearts, fulfilling ardent and long-awaited wish of all Albanians to have a special guest in their home. Tungjatjeta -- an Albanian word, means "may you have a long life." This is a most traditional greeting of Albanians that I chose to greet you on their behalf, on behalf of Albanians. Welcome to Albania, President Bush.
Mr. President, you are, today, an honorable guest and friend of a nation whose gratefulness and friendship towards your great nation and your country have been deeply embodied in the historic memory and in the conscience of its citizens. No other nation in the region or in Europe has ever gone through so much suffering, ethnic cleansing, racism, partitions, occupations, and severe dictatorships as we Albanians have. History was unjust and very severe to us.
We have been blessed, however. We have won in all our efforts to defend our identity in Western oriented national vocation to emerge from the age of oppression to the age of dignity, from the age of darkness to the age of freedom. We have won because our just cause has always had the powerful support of the U.S.A., the greatest and the most precious friend of Albanian nation. God bless your great nation.
But unlike idiotic liberal elites in the United States, the Albanians know firsthand the evil of tyranny and the benefits of freedom. Their example is but one which President Bush highlighted on this European trip.
President Bush praised the religious freedom and tolerance of the Albanians, a predominately Muslim nation, and also thanked them for contributing a commando unit to coalition efforts in Iraq and also a deployment this summer to Afghanistan. It appears we're NOT going "unilateral" in Iraq after all. Who knew?
President George W. Bush stands with Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, left, of Croatia, Prime Minister Sali Berisha of Albania, and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski of Macedonia, Sunday, June 10, 2007, following a lunch with the three leaders during a stop in Tirana, Albania. White House photo by Chris Greenberg
Bush Gives Pope The Stick!
Pope Benedict XVI smiles as he holds a walking stick presented to him by President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush Saturday, June 9, 2007, during their visit to the Holy See. The walking stick, created by a former homeless Texas man, is adorned with the Ten Commandments in multiple colors. White House photo by Eric Draper
Perhaps President Bush should have kept that stick to keep Congress in line!
Poland: Another former "captive nation" thankful for U.S. support.
President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush are greeted by Poland's President Lech Kaczynski and Mrs. Maria Kaczynska at the Gdansk Lech Walesa International Airport Friday, June 8, 2007, in Gdansk. White House photo by Chris Greenberg
Welcoming Remarks of President Kaczynski of PolandBush Scores at G-8 Summit!
Gdansk Lech Walesa International Airport
June 8, 2007
PRESIDENT KACZYNSKI: ...Certainly we talked about the issue of missile defense system. We talked about problems pertaining to the relations with our very important Russian partner. We talked about the situation in Iran a little; ...
I can tell you that as far as the missile defense system is concerned, the two parties fully agree. And this is in line with the obvious thing, that the system has no aggressive intentions. This is the plan which is to reenforce the protection of Europe against the dangers which result from the fact that not all the countries of the contemporary world are responsible -- we do not mean Russia here. It's about other states.
However, it is important that our Russian partner, with which Poland wants also to have as good relations as possible -- the United States has good relations with that country -- but that Russia should recognize that the world has changed for the last 18 years, and it concerns also Central and Eastern Europe, and in particular, it concerns our country.
No plans of the United States, as the U.S. President said, or Polish plans are directed against the interests of the Russian Federation. The Russian Federation can feel totally safe... the whole plan of the missile defense system is the plan which gives rights to more stability and defense, defense which is needed to guard against irresponsible actions, without any additional objectives here.
Apparently that message to Russian President Putin was delivered rather effectively by President Bush in the G-8 Summit meeting which preceded President Bush's trip to Poland. Putin, in a joint news conference with President Bush following their one on one meeting backed down from an earlier threat to target European nations participating in the Missile Defense program and made a number of suggestions whereby other former captive nations like Azerbaijan might also participate.
President George W. Bush shares a moment with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, after a photo opportunity with Outreach Representatives at the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany. With them are Prime Minister Romano Prodi, left, of Italy, and Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom. White House photo by Eric Draper
A Bush Milestone: More Conservative, More Pro-American leaders than at any previous G-8!
Go right down that row! Most of these leaders have been elected or re-elected in the last few years on a platform of more conservative, more pro-American policies! That's quite an achievement!
Leaders of the G8 sit on a canopied bench after meeting with Junior G8 Student Leaders Thursday, June 7, 2007, in Heiligendamm, Germany. From left, and under their respective country flags, are: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan; Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada; President Nicolas Sarkozy of France; Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, President George W. Bush of the United States; Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom; Prime Minister Romano Prodi of Italy, and Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission. White House photo by Eric Draper
A Warm Welcome from the Czechs!
President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush are welcomed by President Vaclav Klaus and his wife Livia Klausova to Prague Castle Tuesday, June 5, 2007. White House photo by Eric Draper
The Czechs also appreciate their relationship with the United States and have joined with us in development of a missile defense system. President Klaus has also been very vocal on the need to combat global warming hysteria; a message which President Bush successfully carried to the G-8 Summit when he convinced participants to study the issue more closely before making any economically damaging and environmentally inconsequential regulations.
But the real purpose of President Bush's Czech visit, which was also echoed at the later stops in Poland and Albania, was the advancement of freedom, particularly in the former captive nations, but also in those countries which are still held prisoner by totalitarian elites. Attending an International Conference on Democracy and Security President Bush touted his Administration's commitment to freedom. These are not just throwaway talking points, but the full measure of the moral commitment made by the United States to other people's around the world.
President Bush Discusses Freedom
Large Hall, Czernin Palace
Prague, Czech Republic
June 5, 2007
...In this room are dissidents and democratic activists from 17 countries on five continents. You follow different traditions, you practice different faiths, and you face different challenges. But you are united by an unwavering conviction: that freedom is the non-negotiable right of every man, woman, and child, and that the path to lasting peace in our world is liberty. (Applause.)
This conference was conceived by three of the great advocates for freedom in our time: Jose Maria Aznar, Vaclav Havel, and Natan Sharansky. I thank them for the invitation to address this inspiring assembly, and for showing the world that an individual with moral clarity and courage can change the course of history.
It is fitting that we meet in the Czech Republic -- a nation at the heart of Europe, and of the struggle for freedom on this continent. Nine decades ago, Tomas Masaryk proclaimed Czechoslovakia's independence based on the "ideals of modern democracy." That democracy was interrupted, first by the Nazis and then by the communists, who seized power in a shameful coup that left the Foreign Minister dead in the courtyard of this palace.
Through the long darkness of Soviet occupation, the true face of this nation was never in doubt. The world saw it in the reforms of the Prague Spring and the principled demands of Charter 77. Those efforts were met with tanks and truncheons and arrests by secret police. But the violent would not have the final word. In 1989, thousands gathered in Wenceslas Square to call for their freedom. Theaters like the Magic Lantern became headquarters for dissidents. Workers left their factories to support a strike. And within weeks, the regime crumbled. Vaclav Havel went from prisoner of state to head of state. And the people of Czechoslovakia brought down the Iron Curtain with a Velvet Revolution.
Across Europe, similar scenes were unfolding. In Poland, a movement that began in a single shipyard freed people across a nation. In Hungary, mourners gathered at Heroes Square to bury a slain reformer -- and bury their communist regime, too. In East Germany, families came together for prayer meetings -- and found the strength to tear down a wall. Soon, activists emerged from the attics and church basements to reclaim the streets of Bulgaria, and Romania, and Albania, and Latvia, and Lithuania, and Estonia. The Warsaw Pact was dissolved peacefully in this very room. And after seven decades of oppression, the Soviet Union ceased to exist.
The United States is also using our influence to urge valued partners like Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to move toward freedom. These nations have taken brave stands and strong action to confront extremists, along with some steps to expand liberty and transparency. Yet they have a great distance still to travel. The United States will continue to press nations like these to open up their political systems, and give greater voice to their people. Inevitably, this creates tension. But our relationships with these countries are broad enough and deep enough to bear it. As our relationships with South Korea and Taiwan during the Cold War prove, America can maintain a friendship and push a nation toward democracy at the same time. (Applause.)
We're also applying that lesson to our relationships with Russia and China. (Applause.) The United States has strong working relationships with these countries. Our friendship with them is complex. In the areas where we share mutual interests, we work together. In other areas, we have strong disagreements. China's leaders believe that they can continue to open the nation's economy without opening its political system. We disagree. (Applause.) In Russia, reforms that were once promised to empower citizens have been derailed, with troubling implications for democratic development. Part of a good relationship is the ability to talk openly about our disagreements. So the United States will continue to build our relationships with these countries -- and we will do it without abandoning our principles or our values. (Applause.)
We appreciate that free societies take shape at different speeds in different places. One virtue of democracy is that it reflects local history and traditions. Yet there are fundamental elements that all democracies share -- freedom of speech, religion, press, and assembly; rule of law enforced by independent courts; private property rights; and political parties that compete in free and fair elections. (Applause.) These rights and institutions are the foundation of human dignity, and as countries find their own path to freedom, they must find a loyal partner in the United States of America.
Extending the reach of freedom is a mission that unites democracies around the world. Some of the greatest contributions are coming from nations with the freshest memories of tyranny. I appreciate the Czech Republic's support for human rights projects in Belarus and Burma and Cuba. I thank Germany, and Poland, and the Czech Republic, and Hungary, and Slovenia, and Georgia, Lithuania, Estonia, Croatia for contributing to the new United Nations Democracy Fund. I'm grateful for the commitment many new democracies in Central and Eastern Europe are making to Afghanistan and Iraq. I appreciate that these countries are willing to do the hard work necessary to enable people who want to be free to live in a free society.
What an astounding trip! And to think that Paris Hilton got more media coverage! For SHAME "news" media!