OP-ED

Bob Dole, the last of the Americans?

Bob Dole, the last of the Americans?

Alfred Lela

When Eliot Engell lost his seat in the face of the Republican challenger in the last elections for the American Congress, the connoisseurs of the Albanian cause and its lovers, in particular, must have escaped a whisper of boredom and anxiety. Engell has been one of the tireless knights of the albanosphere, a friend of Albanians, and an bona fide American in Washington's political circles.

But it is not the peaceful transfer of power that scares. Biological time and death are even more ruthless. From her, Albanians have lost another supporter, former senator, and former presidential candidate, Republican Bob Dole.

Dole, also an influential pro-Albanian in Washington, has been one of the most steadfast supporters of the self-determination, sovereignty, and well-being of the small European nation, decided by fate in the Balkan Peninsula.

With his departure, the last of the pro-Albanian Americans disappear from the scene.

The latter is because Mr. Dole (light pastry!) Is a representative, not only of a group of supporters of the Albanian cause but the emblem of a golden age, what can be called the Albanian golden era.

The gods of history in the late 1980s and the two concluding decades of the last century, strongly reconciled with the Albanians. An influential network in America, mostly anti-communist Republican senators and congressmen, saw Albania and Albanians as a country unjustly enslaved, ruthlessly thrown to the wrong side of history, beyond the Iron Curtain. The special American-Albanian connection was anti-communism.

Twenty years in a row, being anti-communist, both among Albanians and American policymakers, was a matter of time, order, and necessity; something cool and historic.

Not any more.

Anti-communism has fallen on the agenda, and Donald Trump's short-lived attempt to bring it back, more for political rather than fundamental purposes — proved that another agenda, largely left-wing, entirely liberal, based on economic and media power ruled by the American elite.

Engell, Dole, Reagan, Bush, and their anti-communism already look like ethnic cuisine: likable once in a while, but not the main taste of American delicacies.

Of course, this is a missing thing, but not to mourn, it should cause melancholy, but not greed. Times change and with the realities. The Albanian issue must also be channeled into the grooves of the new, the possible, the adequate.

While Bob Dole, Eliot Engell, and other men in American politics should be honored, so should the nature of the new times that have come.

This is mainly an alarm for the Albanian cheese, which in such a context seems even more reactionary, even more conservative, even more in need of new views and perspectives.

Of course, all this leather underwear on the back of the world coincides with the internal developments in Tirana. With the dilemmas of the Democratic Party, not only about the current leadership but also in relations with the Americans.

Two of the emblems of what can be called the Albanian golden age, the 90s of the last century and the 2000s of this century, Sali Berisha and Hashim Thaçi, are in the uncertain air of a head-to-toe with the history or the end of saj.

In this context, the events speak for Albania and Albanians, but also America and its policies. 

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