Friday, April 3, 2009

To Bow, or Not To Bow

That is the question of the morning.

The attacks on Barak Obama's bow to the King of Saudi Arabia appears to be quite out of proportion. When I first heard the story, and before I saw the video, I was thinking he bent a knee - Now that would be a sign of submission.

I do agree that Barak Obama's bow was inappropriate as a slight bow of the head is enough to show respect, but I'm not going to say that Obama was plainly out of place to bow in greeting. It is not simply a sign of submission. In many cultures it is also a sign of respect. Whether or not President Obama should be showing such deferential respect to the King of Saudi Arabia is a completely separate issue.

As for those distinguishing this bow from his greeting of the Queen of England: The Queen of England is a symbolic monarch with little to no power in the game of politics, whereas the King of Saudi Arabia has real political power and is an equal to the President's international stature.

Plus, can you even imagine any American bowing to a monarch of England?

1 comment:

CBI said...

It is worth remembering that president G.W.Bush also bowed to the king of Saudi Arabia. I found a video of it on the Little Green Footballs blog (which used to be reasonably good, but seems to go off the deep end a lot nowadays).