Kings and Queens

Much ado has been made over the First Couple’s rather awkward gift of an iPod for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (coupled with Obama’s earlier gift of NTSC DVD’s for Prime Minister Britain of the PAL loving United Kingdom). I think perhaps the criticism may be a little overblown, though I find it curious that the iPod contained a copy of several Obama speeches. One could say that this is no different than the Royal Couple’s gift of a photo of themselves (though the iPod seems a bit more boastful of Obama’s accomplishments). 

Perhaps more disturbing has been the Obama’s attitude towards various foreign monarchs and leaders during the G-20 Summit. First there was Michele Obama’s hugging of the Queen. 


It’s not protocol:

For men this is a neck bow (from the head only) whilst women do a small curtsy. Other people prefer simply to shake hands in the usual way.
On presentation to The Queen, the correct formal address is ‘Your Majesty’ and subsequently ‘Ma’am’. “


But the Queen seems to have enjoyed it, and perhaps they built up more of a rapport than we can see in this photo. More disturbing, however, is the President’s actions towards King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia:
The bow occurs at roughly 54 seconds in. For those unfamilar with protocol, Mrs. Manners explains:
One does not bow or curtsy to a foreign monarch because the gesture symbolizes recognition of her power over her subjects. 
Now, Saudi Arabia’s importance in world affairs cannot be unrecognized, since they are the world’s leading petroleum producer. However, it also cannot go unrecognized that, under Sharia law, the nation has a long and ugly past (and indeed, present) regarding human rights and has a democracy that is far less developed than that of other monarchies such as the United Kingdom. Indeed, this year’s municipal elections have been put on hold indefinitely. 
Certainly one of the great disappointments of the Bush administration was their less than critical attitude towards Saudi Arabia and other reputed allies in the Muslim world with poor records on democracy and human rights. However, with the Obama administration ending use of the phrase “The War on Terror” along with his campaign promises to change tack towards many of the main instigators in the war, such an action is rather disconcerting. I’m not one to say that the sky is falling and that “the President in handing over America to Islamic Fascists!!!!”…..however, I think his actions hear indicate either a deep lack of knowledge or respect for diplomatic protocol or the latest sign of a much softer attitude towards those who coddle terrorists or insist on quashing basic human rights. 
  1. Z
    April 3, 2009 at 9:59 am

    April fool’s, right? Right? I don’t even know why I read this crap anymore.

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