November 25, 2009
barry’s own words re: his bow to Emperor Akihito makes clear he hasn’t been instructed in State Dept protocol nor does he care. His first bow was to King Saudi, accompanied by a genuflect and a near hand kiss. This time he bowed completely at the waist showing the emperor the top of his head. Had he considered he did something wrong with the first bow, it wouldn’t have happened again in Japan.
Prime Minister Singh did a respectful bow when barry introduced him yesterday after a handshake.
The Atlantic’s JAMES FALLOWS quoted a “US government official who was on the trip and knows first-hand about many of the meetings with foreign dignitaries.”
The official’s comment on barry’s bow:
Obama’s attitude was, this is an elderly gentleman in a country where this kind of greeting is customary. It does not seem extraordinary to show this kind of gesture to him.
The FOX News poll said that 67% of Americans thought it was a good thing for him to have done.
When the president heard that some people had complained, I’d characterize his reaction as: The notion that the United States is somehow humbling or humiliating itself by showing respect for a local custom, when it is transparently the most powerful country in the world, leaves me speechless.
It isn’t a “local custom”. The emperor bows to no one and neither should barry. Look at other world leaders greeting Emperor Akihito (video). No one is bending or bowing.
And even if barry didn’t know the proper greeting protocol – he could have just looked at the head of state he was greeting – both extended their hand and expected nothing other than a handshake. barry initiated both of the bows.
Note also, barry didn’t bow to the Queen (who is just as diminutive) nor did Michelle curtsy. Instead she rubbed the Queen’s back like a peasant.
There has not been a single trip where POTUS/FLOTUS have not broken protocol.