Change you can believe in: Obama bows to Saudi king

RWS

Registered
From my observation (with friends and kinsmen throughout the country and its social classes, I've had much opportunity to observe), both social class and geography do influence physical demonstration. In general, the higher the social class, the less physicality, particularly in public and particularly upon first meeting. But there are regional differences; people in the Southeastern states are more physically demonstrative than those in the Northeastern, for example, pretty much regardless of class (the tiny upper classes of the two regions appear to be very similar, however). Doubtless there's somewhere a decent master's thesis or doctoral dissertation on the matter!

And age, too, is a factor, with younger adults more likely to be demonstrative, even in public, than older ones.
 

sergio

Registered
Did Bush ever bow to the Saudi king in the same medieval way that Obama did? I'd like to see a video or photo of that. I know that he held the king's hand and kissed him. There was a lot of criticism of it at the time. I wouldn't use Bush as a model for the Presidency, however. Whatever Bush did or may have done, Obama's gesture was repulsive to a lot of people. Saudi Arabia denies basic human rights. The President of the US can not be seen in such a demeaning position.
 

tangobob

Registered
Celia said:
"they are equal rank. That is why Michelle was allowed to touch the Queen."

Michelle broke protocol by touching the Queen. Tangobob, I thought you were a fellow brit, surely you know that no one is allowed to touch Her Majesty!
Actuall my understanding was that Her Majesty initiated the embrace, quite different from when the Austrailian president put his arm around her, this was a clear breach of protocol, as a prime minister is not considered equal to a head of state.
Note if you will, every time Gordon Brown (or any past PM) comes out to speak with the President, The President always comes first.
In the same way Obama should be considered the equal to a Saudi King, they are afterall both Heads of State.
Protocol rules are clear with people of different ranks, but when equal ranks meet the rules of protocol become far less clear.
 

Conorworld

Registered
Would there have been the same hoopla if he bowed to the Japanese Emperor? While it is not exactly appropriate in the US it wasn't in the US and different cultures come to a form of consensus in relation to this. Since its general courtesy of other nations to give a kiss on one or two cheeks to visiting dignitaries if Obama did that would he be accused of being a homosexual? It's all just a silly debate over nothing.
 

steveinbsas

Registered
I think the bow might serve as a significant deterrent for the recruitment of terrorists, er, I mean those who create "man caused disasters"....and I apologize for being gender specific, but I am just quoting the party (white house) line.
 

RWS

Registered
Conorworld said:
Would there have been the same hoopla if he bowed to the Japanese Emperor?
Yes, of course. Did you read the import of the first page or two of this thread?

Conorworld said:
While it is not exactly appropriate in the US it wasn't in the US and different cultures come to a form of consensus in relation to this.
True. Again, "Conor", the action is not condemned because it was a foreign gesture, but because it is a foreign gesture made by a subject to his lord. Mr. Obama is the president of the United States (remember? he accepted the office this January) and, thus, represents in his person the sovereignty of the United States.

If a private citizen wished to bow deeply to a foreign potentate, I'd be saddened but not distressed. For the next three years and more, Mr. Obama is not a private citizen. Is the distinction clear?

Conorworld said:
Since its general courtesy of other nations to give a kiss on one or two cheeks to visiting dignitaries if Obama did that would he be accused of being a homosexual?
I doubt it.

By the way, the kiss is between equals (in Arab countries, Argentina, France, and some other places), and thus quite reasonable for a president to employ in greeting a head of state from such a country. I wonder, though: did Mr. Obama kiss la presidente?

Conorworld said:
It's all just a silly debate over nothing.
Doubtless it is, for you. But you're neither a diplomat nor particularly interested in affairs of state, are you?
 

steveinbsas

Registered
Ries said:
Baloney.
This is common politeness, nothing more.

When George Bush met the king, HE bowed too. And then he held hands, and politely declined to mention that most of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudis, funded and directed by a member of the Saudi royal family.

Several US presidents have done this exact same thing, in the past, both democrat and republican.

If you dont like Obama's policies, thats fine, say so, but this is Fox News/ Rush Limbaugh smoke and mirrors, and means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

The republicans in the USA are really dredging the bottom of the barrel, when this is the worst thing they can come up with- and the poor radio and tv provacateurs in the US are all over this right now, being answered by a profound lack of indignity from the american people.

Obama, and his policies, are VERY popular in the USA right now.
Obama is President, Rush Limbaugh is a big, fat idiot and Al Franken is (almost) a US Senator.

Utopia is just around the corner.
 

Ries

Registered
Steve, I dont know anybody in the US who thinks Obama is the saviour, the answer to all our problems, or the second coming.

Most people I know, who voted for him, are plenty happy that he seems to be doing a better job than Bush, in a very tough situation.

I think he inherited the worst conditions since Roosevelt in the 30's. He will, no doubt, make a lot of people mad, including a lot of people who voted for him. I know I dont agree with everything he is doing, nor do I know anyone else who does.

But- and its a big but, (and, as Peewee used to say, everybody has got one) he is appointing and hiring intelligent people, and they are slowly changing a lot of little things. Bush hired based on blind loyalty and party allegiance. This is not the case today.

In the end, the president actually has surprisingly little power- its the congress, the civil service, and the judiciary that does the heavy lifting, and in, all three cases, I, like a provable majority of americans (see any recent poll) feel that Obama is appointing and hiring people who are making positive changes.

Big Rock Candy mountain does not exist, and we all only get pie in the sky after we die- and I dont think the average american citizen right now has any illusions about how bad things are.

I heard a very interesting interview today with Tom Ricks, who is a journalist who has been to Iraq 14 times, for 3 to 6 weeks each, in the last few years. He points out that, since Bush committed what is probably the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of the nation, by invading Iraq, we are between a rock and a hard place, and that while prolonging the war, as Obama is doing, is a bad thing, all the other options are worse.
I will be reading his new book, "The Gamble", as soon as I can, and, I would recomend him as a very informed and evenhanded author.

Point being, Whatever Obama does, he will be criticised for, sometimes rightly, but pretty much nothing he does can be as bad as the last 8 years, with its terrorist attacks, unprovoked wars, complete meltdown of the world economy, and disregard of basic constitutional principles.

PS- Jon Stewart's "Tyranny = Losing" riff is hilarious. And pretty true.
 

Conorworld

Registered
RWS,

I have read the post and I have taken into account that you have stated it as a “symbolic debasement” of the United States. However I stand by my opinion that people are making something major out of nothing.

I may not be an expert of affairs of state nor the minutae of protocol that bedevils it but as a student of history and political science I would say that I have a good bit of knowledge of what happens in these instances.

I just think that you have clouded the whole thing with archaic concepts of subservience and high-mindedness. Mr. Obama I believe was not hobbled by such archaic principles. I am also sure he was quite aware of his position as the head of state of the United States when he bowed to the Saudi king. I have read the thread and I stick by my comparison with if it was the Japanese Emperor.

You are perpetuating the concept you are against by making an issue of what you perceive is some form of subservience when it was one of mutual respect. So the Saudi king didn’t reciprocate. Is that the issue? If he bowed and Obama didn’t would that make it different? As we have seen with that excruciating video with Kirchner placing her hand out for Obama it could all have just been situation and circumstances anyway. One should not immediately find negatives from this instance alone. Simply put it is just a lot of hoopla over nothing.
 

Conorworld

Registered
RWS,

I have read the post and I have taken into account that you have stated it as a “symbolic debasement” of the United States. However I stand by my opinion that people are making something major out of nothing.

I may not be an expert of affairs of state nor the minutae of protocol that bedevils it but as a student of history and political science I would say that I have a good bit of knowledge of what happens in these instances.

I just think that you have clouded the whole thing with archaic concepts of subservience and high-mindedness. Mr. Obama I believe was not hobbled by such archaic principles. I am also sure he was quite aware of his position as the head of state of the United States when he bowed to the Saudi king. I have read the thread and I stick by my comparison with if it was the Japanese Emperor.

You are perpetuating the concept you are against by making an issue of what you perceive is some form of subservience when it was one of mutual respect. So the Saudi king didn’t reciprocate. Is that the issue? If he bowed and Obama didn’t would that make it different? As we have seen with that excruciating video with Kirchner placing her hand out for Obama it could all have just been situation and circumstances anyway. One should not immediately find negatives from this instance alone. Simply put it is just a lot of hoopla over nothing.
 
Top