Friday, April 10, 2009

Non-issue of the day...

Did President Obama bow to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah?

Oh, my God! Forget the war in Iraq, the toilet bowl-circling economy, or the eclipse of quality storytelling by "reality television" in prime-time programming... the real issue of the day is whether or not President Obama showed loyalty or deference to a foreign monarch.

Ben Smith quotes "an Obama aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity" who ratchets everything up another notch by saying the bow wasn't really a bow. Or allegedly saying that, because if your Obama aide is anonymous, you can have them saying anything. It could be the guy who gets pizzas for the staff, for all we know, replying to the question of did he or didn't he bow, "Nah, I don't think he'd do that, would he?"

Having been once quoted by name in a news story in a major paper, entirely out of context on a subject about which I was never asked in an interview about something else that was conducted months earlier, which had me saying something I would never have said about the topic, I don't have a whole heck of a lot of faith in Western news media. Only slightly more than Korean news media, in fact.

The conservative Washington Times, no lovers of Obama even on a good day, said this:
In a shocking display of fealty to a foreign potentate, President Obama bowed to Saudi King Abdullah at the Group of 20 summit in London last week.

Mr. Obama later said in Strasbourg, France, "We have to change our behavior in showing the Muslim world greater respect." Symbolism is important in world affairs. By bending over to show greater respect to Islam, the U.S. president belittled the power and independence of the United States.

The bow was an extraordinary protocol violation. Such an act is a traditional obeisance befitting a king's subjects, not his peer.
Ah, the Obama-as-clandestine-Muslim meme again. By the way, kids, fealty is the GRE word for "sworn loyalty to a lord," which is reading an awful lot into a deferent bow. As is suggesting that the leader of Saudi Arabia represents "Islam" as a whole (our Islamist enemies certainly don't think so), and an intolerant Islam at that.

Years ago, I met Queen Elizabeth, in Seoul. As instructed, I did whatever polite gesture her handlers had asked (we had a pre-meeting "rehearsal" the night before). Yet I'm still an American, and a faithful one at that (though some have accused me of the vile crime of being disloyal to the United States). Ditto with President Clinton, who in 1994 sort of bowed to the Emperor of Japan.

Granted, I'm not head of state or anything, but is this really the most important issue out there? And is the absurd alleged utterance of an anonymous aide really so notenewsworthy?

Give us our health care, dammit! Fix the freakin' economy! Create some jobs and curtail environmental pollution. Then, if we still care, talk about this nonsense.


  1. i hate to say 'told you he was a secret muslim terrorist.'

    but, you know, it could be worse. john mccain is a sleeper agent for the vietnamese.

  2. i hate to say 'told you he was a secret muslim terrorist.'

    Well, I'm just glad Obama didn't hire Bill Ayers to be his Secretary of Education, as we were warned he might.

    but, you know, it could be worse. john mccain is a sleeper agent for the vietnamese.

    Ha ha...

    That instantly reminded me of Principal Skinner on The Simpsons, telling a new student not to worry about the bedwetting listed in her permanent record:

    Don't worry: they'll forget. Just like they forgot about me in that tiger cage for eighteen agonizing months! Every night I wake up screaming!

    Yeah, I can see John McCain as a Manchurian Candidate.

  3. I guess "oil" truly is god no matter the political affiliation of the president. What’s funny is that I don't think Bush ever kowtowed like this to this man.

    Maybe Obama forgot his U.S. history in regards to the Revolutionary War. One of the reasons it was fought was so there would be "no more kings."

    John from Daejeon

  4. Tent nigger anybody?
    but seriously, he was just being polite, and hereditary rulers are generally accorded higher protocol in respect for their being born into it (i'm not saying I like it, but just saying this seems to be the way it works, in my experience)
    Elected officials are like a one night stand, can be great, but at the end of the day they are out the door.
    Royalty is more a spouse, they fuck you all your life.

  5. emily, do you kiss your momma with that mouth? ;)

    In all seriousness, though, I tend to agree with what you're saying. The American Revolution to end the monarchy ended eleven score and seven years ago. They're not in any position to take over again.

    Really, this is completely a non-issue meant to whip up anger and hobble the president as he tries to get some real work done.

  6. great, real work.
    I can't wait for Obama to dissemble the US nuclear arsenal and stop propping up middle eastern dictatorships.
    Maybe put some wall street types up against the wall where they belong.
    get some real work done?
    this is America, welcome to Bush 2.0

  7. emily wrote:
    great, real work.
    I can't wait for Obama to dissemble the US nuclear arsenal
    This will not happen overnight. It would be flat-out dangerous for the US to dismantle its nuclear arsenal while the Russians and the Chinese have theirs, and I would not trust the Russians and the Chinese on this while both countries remain authoritarian oligarchies.

    China is trying to put the brakes on moving forward, even turning fascist, while the Russians seem to be going retro as well.

    In fact, I smell a second Cold War coming, with the US and its European and East Asian allies lined up against a semi-formalized axis between Moscow and Beijing.

    A Chilly War, if you will.

    and stop propping up middle eastern dictatorships.And this won't happen overnight either. The best we can do is wean the world off oil as an energy source. The Middle Eastern dictatorships can get away with what they do because they have what we need. So let's find a substitute.

    Korea needs to work on this, too. This would be an amazing way to take Korea to the next level economically.

    Being from California and now living in Hawaii, this is such a no-brainer. We waste so much energy that is literally just shining down on us, but the gummint has killed off efforts to technologically develop that as an affordable alternative on a mass scale.

    Maybe put some wall street types up against the wall where they belong. Ah, you may not know how Kushibo feels about capital punishment, not even for Wall Street suits who bankrupted the country.

    But that doesn't mean they shouldn't be prodded with hot pokers.

    get some real work done?Expansion of adequate health care in the direction of a functioning universal health care system, for starters.

    WTFWorld Trade... Finance?

    this is America, welcome to Bush 2.0That's harsh. Are you living in America, emily? Are you a US citizen? I ask because I'm curious for whom you voted if that's the way you feel.

  8. I was born and raised in Korea but my dad's American and so is my citizenship, but my home is Korea.
    I'm only in the US for a brief posting, give me Seoul anyday.
    I didn't vote, but of course I lean toward Obama.
    I'd rather have had the opportunity to vote for someone more radical that would really shake things up, like Osama Bin Laden for example, but that is unlikely and I would probably just be wasting my vote unless another 50 million voted with me and the US Constitution allowed foreign -born citizens to become president.
    I don't think Osama has a US passport either, but you know what I mean.
    Oh, and of course disarmament must be done together with the other nations.
    Cept for Israel, they need to go the South African route.
    I'm not sure if I will let Pyongyang keep their nukes though, they kinda deserve them.


Share your thoughts, but please be kind and respectful. My mom reads this blog.