Sunday, April 5, 2009

Obama bows to Saudi King - clearly he must be weak or a Muslim extremist

You know that time when you went to your friend's place and they cooked you a meal and it wasn't very nice at all, yet out of politeness you told them how lovely it was?

Well, it turns out that you are a spineless little bitch for doing that.

The context?

The US right wing commentariat is in a lather these days about Barack Obama bowing to Saudi King Abdullah ahead of the G20 Summit in Britain. Not being an American I didn't know this, but apparently the US protocol is that Americans should not bow to any foreign royalty. So Obama's bow to the King is being interpreted in a hundred different ways.

Just so you get some context, here is the footage.

The first question I asked myself upon seeing the video was You mean that's it? Yep, that's it. Just a quick bow to the waist. Yet with all the column inches this story is receiving, you'd think the Prez was on his knees with his tongue gently caressing King Abdullah's nether regions.

Alan Keyes thinks it may be a nod-and-wink to the Muslim world to show that Obama is really down with them, since all right-wing lunatics know that the man is a sleeper Islamic terrorist by virtue of having the middle name Hussein.
Over at Political Byline, they deem that Obama, by bowing to his "Arab masters" should be charged with treason. Nice to see some well-thought-out and not at all delusional thinking over there.
And it just goes on and on across the right-wing blogosphere. Obama is now Abdullah's bitch, he is showing that he is inferior to the King, it shows that he's really a Muslim, yada yada.

The American Right never fail to amuse me, but they would be more amusing if they didn't hold so much power to screw over the rest of the world. What they don't get is that the attitudes being expressed on this are a prime example of why so many people around the world dislike Americans. It's called arrogance. It's the mindset that says "as Americans, we have to constantly remind you that we are the greatest people in the world."

Bill Clinton copped steam back in 1994 for almost bowing to Japanese Emperor. Wow, imagine that, bowing to a Japanese person. It's not as if bowing is part of Japanese culture or anything...

I have been bowed to by Japanese people a number of times in my life. I don't recall that any of those instances was accompanied by me thinking "Ha! Now you are my bitch!"

I'm not gonna try and read Barack Obama's mind. But I'm guessing that he was just trying to show culturally appropriate respect to someone who is, after all, a king. It may not actually have been culturally appropriate in that sense, but hey, he was trying to be nice. Had he bowed to King Bhumibol of Thailand, would the same fuss be there?
Whether or not that was the proper US presidential protocol for the situation, when you meet someone of royal status, you show some deference. Some have made the point that since Saudi Arabia is such a intolerant hardline Islamic state, Obama should certainly not have bowed. In that case, what would be the appropriate greeting? A wedgie?

I'm sure King Abdullah is used to people bowing to him all the time, and thought absolutely nothing of it. And far from being anyone's bitch, Obama strikes me as someone who is well aware of his status as the world's most powerful man, yet is unafraid to show humility and respect to others. Just like when Obama says he is willing to talk with the Iranians rather than simply bombing them, the US Right also saw this as weakness.

As I said, so many Americans just don't get it. America, at least as represented by the Republican Right, is the schoolyard jock and racist bully with the superinflated ego, who thinks the only reason people don't like him is because they're jealous of how awesome he is.

Obama, who embodies the modern broadminded multicultural man and is comfortable enough in his masculinity that he doesn't need to wave it in anyone's face, is so radical in concept that the Right know no other way than to hate him. It's sad.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very well-written piece Chris! I'm very impressed...yeah, those Yanks just have no idea do they... - Josh -