No matter how unpopular a US leader is, they have a home in Kosovo.
Kosovo could be set to re-name its largest lake after the United States President Donald Trump. And it all started as a joke.
The artificial Ujmani lake in north-west Kosovo formed the basis of a controversial agreement mediated by the Trump administration which would see the lake being “shared” between Serbia and Kosovo.
Former US Ambassador to Germany and now special presidential envoy for Serbia and Kosovo negotiations, Richard Grenell, initially proposed the idea as a joke when both countries couldn’t agree on the name of the lake in Washington earlier this month.
The idea, however, has not gone down well, particularly after Kosovo’s prime minister, Avdullah Hoti backed it.
“I welcomed Amb Grenell's proposal that Lake Ujman be renamed Trump Lake in honor of @realDonaldTrump[sic],” said Hoti.
Shameful, spineless excuse of a man. You are the absolute epitome of illegitimacy. Turp.— elita 🇽🇰 (@Elita_Gashi) September 24, 2020
But Kosovo has garnered somewhat of a reputation for naming things after US politicians and even erecting statues in their honour.
Firstly there is the statue of former President Bill Clinton at the heart of Kosovo’s capital Prishtina. And if you miss it there is an even larger poster behind the bronze statue, a smiling Bill Clinton gazing upon the Bill Clinton boulevard.
And if that isn’t enough. The Hillary shop promises to sell women of a certain age pant suits only a stone's throw away from Bill's statue.
The Bill Clinton boulevard intersects with the aptly named George Bush boulevard, another former American president.
The Clintons, a polarising couple in the US, are revered in Kosovo. That reverence stems mainly from the US led intervention in Kosovo during the 1998-99 campaign of ethnic cleansing by Serbia towards the ethnic Albanians.
Kosovo has even named a highway after the late son of former Vice President Joe Biden and current president nominee, Beau Biden.
The former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright under the Clinton administration has become the latest in a growing list of illustrious American politicians to get their own bust.
Although Kosovo’s eagerness to celebrate US politicians now generates satirical articles that hasn’t stopped the country's politicians from continuing to spend money on such statues.
Even Democratic US Congressman from New York and longtime supporter of Kosovo Eliot Engel has seen a boulevard named after him. No US politician is too big or small to be recognised by this small Balkan country.
The now retired US Republican Senator Bob Dole, has also received a double honour, having a boulevard named after him and statue thrown in for good measure.
Naming a lake after Trump is Kosovo staying true to form. But it’s not just streets and statues that adorn Kosovo’s landscape.
Even young boys have been named after Clinton whereas some girls have been named after Madeleine.
But there hasn’t been the same rush by parents to name children after Donald Trump, perhaps, a step too far even for Kosovo. That hasn’t stopped some people from naming their animals after Trump, in his honour it should be said.
Even as the rest of the world has moved decisively against the current Trump administration with approval ratings at historic lows, Kosovo has been an outlier with 75 percent of people approving of the performance of US leadership.