The Great Rapprochement – Book Review
By Peter Tase
On Wednesday April 5th, 2023, Prof. Dr. Fatos Tarifa, former Albanian Ambassador to the United States promoted his latest book “The Great Rapprochement” dedicated to his impressive diplomatic engagements in the Hague, the Netherlands, and Washington DC.
“The Great Rapprochement” (AFRIMI I MADH) in Albanian language is a genuine treasure for Albania’s Foreign Policy Decision makers and among the best diplomatic memoirs that convincingly illuminate the indispensable leadership of Former U. S. Secretary of State Colin Luther Powell in the Balkans and beyond.
Ambassador Tarifa has emerged as a modern European statesman who has clearly embraced commensurable diplomatic skills and statecraft, in a homogenous fashion with his transatlantic counterparts and in conducting Tirana’s Foreign Policy for over seven years.
Ambassador Tarifa, in his memoir written during the last 17 years, has provided an arising trend of coherent negotiating practices in International Affairs, at a time when European geopolitics encountered a shift from a unipolar world with the United States as the world’s single powerful nation, into a multipolar international order.
In his volume, Fatos Tarifa elaborates on his unique professional experience with six different Albanian Prime Ministers; sheds light on their respective attitudes towards handling foreign policy matters and Tirana’s relations with Washington.
In his discourse, Ambassador Tarifa, emphasizes various aspects as to why the ‘significantly corrupt’ politicians in Albania, substantially contribute to the disruption of strategic bilateral partnership with the United States.
He considers this diplomatic memoir as the book of his life.
“The Great Rapprochement” is written as a volume that reflects the truth remembered and written by the author about one of the most important periods of his life, encompassing his distinguished service in the Hague and Washington DC.
Most importantly, this book also highlights the history of Albania’s relations with the United States of America, which are considered by the author as the splendor of a Great Rapprochement between the two nations. In this paramount diplomatic dialogue, Ambassador Tarifa appears as a towering public servant whose constant aspiration was to strengthen the strategic and political – economic partnership between the two countries.
Fatos Tarifa has been appointed in several academic roles, across various prestigious universities in the United States and Europe. His undergraduate and graduate level courses are mainly focused on Social Sciences, Study of Sociology and International Relations.
Fatos Tarifa was the ambassador of Albania to the Kingdom of the Netherlands (1998-2001) and to the United States of America (2001-2005).
In his recent memoir, he has unfolded an important chapter of Albania’s Foreign Policy in the making and described moment – by moment decisions taken by Tirana’s democratic governments, in the realm of International Politics and transatlantic cooperation mechanism.
With this impressive volume, Fatos Tarifa has memorably shaped and professionally articulated Albania’s Foreign Policy, while playing a vital role in improving the image of Tirana, across Europe, at a time when his fatherland was in complete chaos, ruthless anarchy, and inheriting a brutal civil war that lasted for almost a year (1997).
Professor Tarifa combines the strict spirit of the researcher with the sensitivity of a responsible citizen. It is precisely this profile that is sorely absent in the Albanian intellectual environment, both in Prishtina and in Tirana, a space that is overwhelmed by disingenuous political debates and increasingly ignore the most pressing matters of Albanian Foreign Policy and Kosova’s Integration in the EU and UN.
Tarifa has authored, co-authored and edited 45 books and more than 90 journal articles. His books and articles have covered topics ranging from democratic transition and social issues in Eastern Europe to Human development, and current international affairs. In 1998 he became the founding Editor of “Sociological Analysis”, an innovative, international scholarly journal published at Chapel Hill, NC, which he edited for 15 years. He serves as a member of the International Advisory Board of the “Journal of Social Sciences” and the “Journal of Applied Social Science”. Some his published books are: “Politika si gramatikë dhe metaforë” (“Politics as a grammar and metaphor” – 2014); Imagjinata sociologjike dhe bota jonë sociale (2014); Culture, Ideology, and Society (2001); Europe Adrift on the Wine-Dark Sea (2007).