Pristina’s main artery is named Bill Clinton Avenue. After NATO ended ethnic cleansing in 1999, Albanians named their newborns “Madeline Albright Ismaili” or “Al Gore Ajeti.” The honeymoon continues: A “statue of liberty” sits atop a city hotel. American flags fly profusely – on cars, storefronts, and on solitary homes in the countryside.
In Kosovo, American styles, films, and symbols are bolted in hearts and minds. It’s uncritical, and a tad embarrassing to elites, but there you have it. That giant America helped end Kosovo’s horror still amazes. In Pristina, it is hard to find locals who don’t speak English; even elders try.