By Robert Wallace
Remember Obama’s infamous bow before the King of Saudi Arabia? A bow that the Obama administration insisted was not a bow (“It wasn’t a bow. He grasped his hand with two hands, and he’s taller than King Abdullah,”) and yet which clearly was a bow?
Well, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, Team Obama is at it again. This time the recipient of our Commander in Chief’s obsequiousness was Emperor Akihito of Japan.
This encore performance is simply outrageous. No excuse whatsoever. As Ed Morrissey of HotAir put it (the emphasis is his):
American Presidents do not bow to royalty. In fact, heads of state do not bow or genuflect to each other in the normal course of diplomacy. At least, they didn’t until this amateur came into office and failed to learn from the first time he did it. What will the White House say this time? He got stomach cramps?
I don’t even know what angle of this fiasco to emphasize the most: amateur hour at the White House, disregard for America’s status in the world community, or extreme disconnect from fundamental American values.
Let’s start with the amateur hour. This is not how heads of state behave. Obama should have known this before he bowed to King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. Even if he hadn’t figured it out before then, he most certainly should have figured it out afterward. His own staff had to lie and pretend that what happened didn’t happen. Which means they knew it shouldn’t have happened. Which makes you want to know: why did it happen again?
But this is more than just a breach of protocol. The protocol – like much formal protocol – exists for a reason. And the reason is symbolic. A head of state represents their nation, and so unless the message you want to convey is “Guess what, my nation is subservient to your nation” you don’t bow. This applies to all nations. So what does this say about Obama’s feelings towards America?
Then there’s the simple value of equality. If any nation on earth should be clear on this it is the United States of America. As Barack Obama may or may not remember, we once had a rather serious disagreement in this country about the role of kings. I seem to remember that there was even an armed conflict, leading to the separation of our nation from our erstwhile monarchy. And, following said separation, there was some discussion about whether or not we ought to have some new royalty of our own. The matter was settled rather conclusively with a resounding “no“. Royalty is incompatible with the fundamental principle of equality that lies at the heart of our (classically) liberal republic. It’s no small irony that America’s most collectivist president–like so many Marxists and socialists before him–is living out the principle that “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others“.
I’m not sure how the White House is going to react, but I’m fairly certain the MSM will react by downplaying the incident if they cover it at all. “What’s the big deal? It’s just symbolism?” The big deal is what this tells us about our President. The man is:
A. incompetent in foreign affairs
B. ashamed of his nation
C. unable to grasp the ramifications of “all men are created equal”
D. all of the above
Take your pick, I suppose.
The silver lining to this national embarrassment is that at least we have another moment of clarity and insight into Obama’s character. The Saudi bow was not an exception. It was the rule. I know the conspiracy theorists on the right will see this incident as just an attempt to cover up some spooky Islamic cabal, but let’s apply Occam’s razor: Obama will bow to any and all royalty so long as they aren’t British. Why fabricate tin-foil hats when Obama is working so hard to prove the conservative case on his own?
Let us take this for what it is and continue the difficult job of slowly bringing the American people out of denial. They didn’t elect a centrist pragmatist with an eye towards change by rejecting imaginary failed policies of the past. They elected a left-wing novice with an eye towards change by embracing the true failed policies of the past.
Robert Wallace is classical liberal studying economics in graduate school. He and his wife work as business analysis consultants, and they live as undercover conservatives with their two small children in a socialist bastion of a college town. He has been writing for America’s Right since December 2008.