"American etiquette expert Gloria Starr, who has met the King's wife and hosted two of their daughters in her finishing schools, told smh.com.au there was nothing wrong with Mr Obama's display of deference.
"I think it was a sign of respect and in no way diminishes the ranking of the President or indicates the greater strength of the one being bowed to," Ms Starr said.
"I bowed, wore the attire, ate the figs as a sign of respect when I was in Saudi.
"I applaud the President for showing this courtesy."" Brisbane Times
American presidents do not bow to foreign leaders, ESPECIALLY kings. If Ms Starr chose to bow to King Abdullah, that is her business. She is not president of the United States. If I choose to bow to the pope, that is my business. I would expect the president of the United States NOT to bow to the pope.
When the president bows to a foreign ruler he bows for all Americans. The United States is the world's foremost republic. It is utterly inappropriate for our head of state to make a gesture of submission to any kind of foreign ruler.
The Saudi king is an absolute monarch. Saudi Arabia has no constitution but the Shariah. Saudis are not citizens. They are subjects. The king's subjects bow to him in his presence in much the same way that President Obama did. Arabs are particularly sensitive to social symbolism. When the Saudi ambassador, Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abd al-Aziz was photographed sitting on the arm of a chair looking down on George W. Bush, the whisper went around the Arab World that Bush, in allowing this to happen, was acknowledging his true relationship to the Saudis.
If this maladroit gesture was advised by Gloria Starr, she should be replaced as a symbolic rejection of the poor advice she gave the president. pl