A Bow of Respect – Not SurrenderPublished by Pamela Gentry on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 12:21 am.
By Pamela Gentry, Senior Political Analyst
Nov. 17, 2009 – There seems to be no end to the criticism of President Barack Obama, and now conservative commentators are seizing on his bow to Japan’s emperor during his visit to Japan likening his actions to “groveling” to a foreign leader.
Let’s be serious, the president would have had to bow regardless, Emperor Akihito is short – not to mention he was following protocol by doing so. It sound a bit silly to be discussing and analyzing not only the bow – but how low the president bowed his head.
The president greeted Akihito, the son of the man who ruled when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, with a simultaneous handshake and a deep bow. The bow brought the 6’-1½’ president’s head below Akihito for just a few seconds.
I doubt the president’s bow to the emperor of country that is our ally will weaken the U.S.‘s status or that of the leader of the free world? Obama acted out of respect for his host, and there is nothing wrong with exhibiting respect and power at the same time.
The State Department does have guidelines for foreign visits. In the 2007 “Protocol for the Modern Diplomat,” emissaries are advised to be aware of greeting rituals such as kisses, handshakes or bows and to follow a country’s tradition. “Failure to abide with tradition may be interpreted as rudeness or a lack of respect for colleagues,” it says. Of course this may not apply to the president, but good protocol is a suggested form of behavior.
Obama isn’t the first president to bow to a foreign head of state. Ian Kelly, State Department spokesman, told reporters that the bow was “a sign of respect to the emperor.”
The bottom line is the bow isn’t a threat to our national security. Let’s move on, and remember how much Obama has improved America’s international image by being respectful rather than arrogant.
What do you think, was the president showing respect or weakness with the bow?
Photos: See Pics From Obama’s Asian Tour