The Obama/Saudi king bow

Obamas420-420x0-420x0 "American etiquette expert Gloria Starr, who has met the King's wife and hosted two of their daughters in her finishing schools, told 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

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74 Responses to The Obama/Saudi king bow

  1. Green Zone Cafe says:

    Agreed. As the representative of a sovereign people, the president should bow to no one.
    The scene from the movie Superman II comes to mind, when the president kneeled before General Zod. Of course, unlike General Zod, King Abdullah does not have superpowers beyond his control of the oil valve.

  2. jr786 says:

    Agree totally. Thesiger tells a story about he asked his Bedu traveling companions what they called ibn Saud when they went to visit him. They looked at him as if he was stupid and said “We called by his name, ibn Saud, what else would we call him? Thesiger said something like “Oh, I thought you’d call him your majesty or something”.
    “We are Bedu,” they replied,” we have no king but G-d”.
    Sounds right to me.

  3. Pat Lang.
    I’ve a few random thoughts about the bowing business. An exchange of bows between gentlemen isn’t a bad thing and certainly less awkward than these handshakes combined with shoulder clutching and semi-embraces that seem to have become all the fashion in encounters between exalted personages. The key phrase being: “an exchange of bows”. Protocol, however, is important and, if no bowing is the correct procedure the Prez. should follow it. Much goofier is sneaking up behind the Lady Chancellor of Germany to give her an unsolicited back rub a la G. Bush and wrapping arms around the Queen of England by the fair Michelle. Our presidents had better shape up their manners.
    Emily Post?

  4. More on King Abdullah and the bow.
    It strikes me that “the bow” was probably made in apology for the poor King having been coerced into making the dismal trek to Crawford, Texas. (I’m being facetious) More than a few world leaders did the same until 2004 or ’05 , as I recall, none looked comfortable doing so. That whole thing seems to have come to an end about then and I’ve wondered if heads of state might have commnicated that a trip to the United States wasn’t worth having to spend time in Crawford.

  5. par4 says:

    Agree about bowing,but the U S being the foremost republic is debatable.

  6. JohnH says:

    Equally appalling is the President saluting the military. Yet Bush did this routinely with nary a word of criticism.
    When the president salutes the military he salutes for all Americans. The United States is the world’s foremost republic, not a banana republic. It is utterly inappropriate for our head of state to make a gesture of submission to any kind of military organization.
    There are plenty of other ways for the President to show respect for the military, but most of those would have required Bush to actually do something, not just lift a few fingers.

  7. optimax says:

    At least Bush holding hands with Saudi king was a sign of equals. Obama’s bow is a sign of subservience, like a dog rolling on its back baring its neck to the alpha. Obama understands power, making his gesture to the king all the more disturbing.

  8. lina says:

    What you see as “submission,” some see as courtesy.

  9. LeaNder says:

    Basically, I agree with Pat Lang here. Very good argument.
    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.
    a) given the media’s hysteria about Michelle’s innocent gesture, could this have triggered this slight overdoing of etiquette/respect?
    b) The situation is rather informal–true,in a larger formal setting–and that he bows so deeply suggests a spontaneous reaction to me. What happened before from Obama’s perspective?
    Could he be simply expressing respect for something the King Abdullah contributed earlier? …
    c) I can’t remember having ever seen any state representative in a Vatican reception not kissing the Pope’s ring. But I absolutely respect Pat Lang’s position.

  10. Emma says:

    I agree. That was pathetic. Has there ever been another American president who bowed to a king?

  11. Patrick Lang says:

    Lina and Fitzgerald
    Did Abdullah bow in return?
    The Israelis have always said that I had spent too much time with the bedu.
    I agree with you, the president is the CIVILIAN CinC of the armed forces. he should not salute. I am saddned to see that you think the armed services are unworthy of their countrymen’s esteem. pl

  12. Emma says:

    p.s. I don’t think anyone should bow to so-called “royalty.” People bowing to each other as equals is fine.

  13. mt says:

    Much lulz. Well I never . . . This is outrageous. What will the neighbors think? Hide the china. In other news – real news, that person over there has a gun and means business. Oh wait, his garments are wonderful.

  14. WILL says:

    When Obama surrounds himself with advisors who don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground, such things happen, and will happen again!
    I can just see Hannity and O’Reilley spinning it! Obama is a secret Muslim or some such drivel!
    Too bad, he couldn’t had sage advisors such as Chas Freeman or the Col. along on the visit to the Custodian of the Holy Shrines to keep him out of trouble.

  15. I don’t know if King Abdullah returned the bow. I doubt it, if for no other reason than that he might have been astonished.
    As for saluting, I suppose that it and bowing are different forms of the same thing. Is it more accurate to say that our presidents who salute are returning salutes,rather than rendering them? Anyway, it started with the “Great Communicator”,who must have really enjoyed returning salutes during the tough Hollywood and Santa Monica campaigns of WWII, and began the practice of presidential salute-returning. A humorous note. Years ago my father in law, a Canadian businessman, drove on post to visit us in a big cadillac and sporting a crew cut. He couldn’t drive around the streets of Ft. Knox without getting saluted by all and sundry.

  16. matter says:

    I agree with Pat Lang. Obama bowing to some foreigner with the fabricated title of “king” is a travesty.
    Lest we forget, the American Revolution was fought to throw off the chains of this ludicrous concoction called “monarchy.”
    No right-thinking American should extend any recognition whatsoever to these made-up titles of monarchy and aristocracy. Any such recognition is a betrayal of our values.

  17. jonst says:

    On the Pres saluting military personal…who started that? I think it was Reagan. Would love to have been a fly on the wall for that particular decision. Because someone had to say ‘no, we’ve never done that here’.
    It’s been too long now, for me be certain, but I think I recall that we were told (in the Marines)never salute someone in civilian garb. Come to attention….yes. Salute? No. Do I have that correct?

  18. Abu Sinan says:

    I am married to a Saudi and we both were disappointed when we saw this.
    My wife, a Saudi, would have given a different gesture to the king. The two finger salute!

  19. JohnH says:

    PL–Sorry if my words could somehow be taken to suggest that I feel the armed services are unworthy of esteem.
    I thought it was clear that I was criticizing only the civilian CinC who confuses his power relationship with the military, even if only symbolically.

  20. FB Ali says:

    He would obviously have been advised on this. (By State Dept protocol?) Considering that he wasn’t advised to bow to the Queen, there was something other than correct etiquette as the motivation here. Did they think this would score points with the Muslim world? Are they outta their minds? The Saudi royals are the most reviled and despised group throughout the length and breadth of the Muslim world. In all countries, among every class of people. This makes a laughing-stock out of the US. The advice was so shockingly bad that one begins to suspect deliberate sabotage. Whoever gave it should be promptly fired.
    Is this going to prove to be the Achilles’ heel of the Obama presidency – poor advisers, bad advice? The sense I am beginning to get of him is that of a very intelligent, modern young man, a visionary, but with limited worldly experience, the kind that enables you to judge people and assess the advice you get.

  21. Nancy K says:

    I find it humorous but it has become boring, all the excitment about touching and bowing. Obviously it is very important to many people, but I think there are probably other’s who are as tired of the subject as I am. I don’t give a rat’s ass about who touchwa or who bows. I just want our economy strong again, high employment numbers and world peace, is that asking too much.

  22. Lori says:

    There is nothing courteous about the leader of the western world breaching his nation’s centuries old protocol by bowing to a Saudi king who runs an extremely repressive, anti-human rights regime. Presidents are meticulously well-schooled on protocol before they leave the states. This bow did not happen spontaneously or accidentally, it is specific action designed to send a specific message – what that message is, is anyone’s guess.
    Americans do not kow-tow to any monarch. It is against the protocol that arose in the aftermath of the revolution we fought to avoid showing subservience to monarchs who claimed to be divinely chosen. I have no idea why anyone of substance would want to breach that protocol.
    As for previous incidents, I do know Nancy Reagan caused a minor scandal by curtsying to the Queen of England. Also, Bill Clinton bowed his head slightly to the emperor of Japan who was raising a wine glass to toast him – something emperors rarely do.
    Bowing to a monarch is not the same action as bowing to your neighbor – it just isn’t. I have no idea why the leader of the western world would chose to display subservience to the leader of the Saudi monarchy. It’s appalling.

  23. Highlander says:

    Well the nation began with General George Washington kicking King George’s derriere out, figuratively speaking.
    And look what we’ve come to today. Our Head of State publically bowing to a despotic ruler of the country that manned up 911, and at least indirectly financed that little operation.
    Obviously our hansome new commander in chief has an appreciation of the spirit of Sharia Law if not all the finer points.
    It should be interesting watching him try to rconcile his muslim instincts (father, and step father muslim, plus the influance of lovely Chicago’s radical impulses)

  24. ritamary says:

    President bows to king of a country where women are not allowed to vote or drive. President’s economic adviser believes women are underrepresented in math and science occupations because of genetics. As a presidential candidate characterized former First Lady’s political experience as “attending tea parties” and said about her “periodically when she is feeling down her claws come out.” Presidential candidate’s followers described former First Lady and then incumbent senator with various sexual obscenities. Presidential candidate using “99 Problems but a Bitch Ain’t One” as a primary campaign theme song.
    Are we perhaps seeing a pattern here? Women reading this blog, what do you think?

  25. Mike says:

    Likewise, no American President should stand to attention nor have hand over heart when the British national anthem “God Save our Gracious Queen” is played.

  26. Maureen Lang says:

    President Obama would have better served all of us & himself by looking straight into Abdullah’s face rather than at the floor.
    As one woman who reads this blog every day, if there’s some pattern you feel you detect forming, might try adding Lilly Ledbetter onto that balance sheet.

  27. J says:

    Welcome to the ‘third term’ of George W. Bush.

  28. Okay enough! We bow to Saudis whenever we fill up the tank. We bow to Chinese when President visits China first. We bow to everyone in the worst ways possible and then show our complete ignorance of etiqutte and symbolism by our business and governmental leaders always posturing over our “Leadership” Real leaders as real independent countries don’t need to pretend they are in charge, they are in charge. When President’s travel let it be for “Summit” reasons other than just production of a joint communique. As far as I am concerned this post and comments generally demonstrate only to much the reality of how far the US has fallen. Perhaps electing another FDR in a wheel chair will prevent bowing from being an issue. $13 Trillion out the door and the real question what has it done to the future and could it have been better spent. The FED should no longer be immune for governance of its independence. This episode proves conclusively how badly it has been managed since its creation. No more Bob Woodward’s economically ignorant “Mastro” analysis. Time for the US to grow up and eliminate amatuer hour. We have leaders, too few, so now let’s get them into the necessary positons that allow them to lead. When we will get it, no bows to Kings!

  29. LeaNder says:

    Well, I looked at the visual side of this story and absolutely changed my mind. If this was part of the White House etiquette training, it would be interesting to know who is in charge.
    And, if I am honest, I hate it if somebody that is not close to me infringes upon my space, let alone touches me. So I guess, I should grant Elisabeth the same right. This is a really patronizing gesture. As if the queen was her daughter, her granny.
    But Obama is even worse, he looks absolutely ludicrous. It’s around 0:55 scroll down for the video

  30. nita scott says:

    I would think it must have had a great effect on the King if what you say is true . It is one way of making a statement WITHOUT saying anything – and there may well have been a reason why this was done – and I dare say he may not have been the only President to do this – in private !!- like most diplomatic moves ??

  31. Watcher says:

    “She’ll swallow you from Bearskin to Boots!”
    John Stewart’s take on this issue:
    Whether or not the President was right to bow, I won’t get into the histrionics of the issue, but rather look at the Presidents actions in the context of the whole situation, was there something strategic to be gained by bowing? That is probably the more productive argument to be had.
    As for the saluting the Military, I’ll say for the Army that we are required by AR 600-25 para 1-5, subpara f, that
    “The President of the United States, as the commander in chief, will be saluted by Army personnel in uniform.” and is further reinforced in FM 7-21-13:
    4-7. The salute is not simply an honor exchanged. It is a privileged gesture of respect and trust among soldiers. Remember the salute is not only prescribed by regulation but is also recognition of each other’s commitment, abilities, and professionalism.
    4-9. The salute is widely misunderstood outside the military. Some consider it to be a gesture of servility since the junior extends a salute to the senior, but we know that it is quite the opposite. The salute is an expression that recognizes each other as a member of the profession of arms; that they have made a personal commitment of self-sacrifice to preserve our way of life. The fact that the junior extends the greeting first is merely a point of etiquette—a salute extended or returned makes the same statement.
    I would further argue that in a time of war and sacrifice, it would seem appropriate for the civilian Commander in Chief to render that simple courtesy to those who are to prosecute that war.

  32. mike says:

    jonst –
    When I served (Marines 1960s), we were taught to salute women in civilian clothes. As I recall the ladies used to love being saluted by myself and other sentries when driving through the main gate. We extended that courtesy to all women regardless of whether they were civilian, enlisted wives, officer wives, or WM’s in civilian clothes. Who could tell the difference unless you knew them personally?
    It did not always work well in front of the gin joints just outside of most military bases. But oh well!

  33. ChrisH says:

    Sorry but if you look closely to the photograph you’ll note that everyone is looking downwards as if the king or our President dropped something. They are even laughing or smiling at whatever has happened. Does not look like a bow to these eyes.

  34. optimax says:

    Obama nodded to the queen. The bow to the king was a full genufection. He’s probably impressed that the Saudi’s own 7% of U.S. They have purchased America quietly,unlike the Japanese in the 80s buying high profile american real estate. First thing Reagan did on retiring from office was make a speech in Japan for 2 million dollars, cheap compared to what Clinton got for selling us out, our production that is, to the Chinese. Bush I broke the deal with the Japanese when he threw up on their Prime Minister in ’92. Now there was symbolism, like watching Nixon sweat and make Freudian slips on television. America has been for sale for a long time and it has made many of our leaders very wealthy. A bunch of Putin heads.

  35. Ingolf says:

    I think ChrisH may be right.
    I just got hold of a larger copy of the photo. If in fact Obama is bowing, it looks very much to me as if it’s part of some “in joke” shared by those present. Both the Saudi King and Sarkozy (and the chap on the left) look very amused indeed; perhaps Obama was putting on a little show.

  36. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    FB Ali raises the issue of advice and what this protocol incident may symbolize (or indicate) for the Obama presidency …bad advisors and bad advice.
    The US Minister to Brazil back in the 1820s in a famous incident refused to bow to the Emperor Dom Pedro. This caused a stir back then in some Brazilian circles but the Minister correctly represented his Republic.
    Some in the Middle East might interpret this as endorsing the Saudi financed Wahhabintern and its goal of creating little Wahhabistans everywhere….like in Pakistan or Afghanistan or..well, pick somewhere….

  37. swerv says:

    i usually agree with all but this seems somewhat overblown.
    obama is a young man, president or not. the king is an old man, absolute monarch or not. in bowing, he was showing a customary deference to age- not subjugating the american nation to saudi rule.
    it is a subtle thing, perhaps too subtle. but i sincerely doubt that the king has any illusions about our ability to call shots as befitting our interests.
    it clearly did not please some. but showing some social deference to elders is something that has not traditionally been a point of emphasis in american foreign policy- or in everyday life.

  38. isl says:

    Not certain the relevance of “foremost republic.”
    IMHO The leader of Lichtenstein also should not bow.

  39. C says:

    It seems to me Obama’s bowing to the Saudi king was a violation of, if not the letter, certainly the spirit of the Constitutional prohibition against accepting emoluments from foreign powers. Since that provision was written with the British monarchy in mind, so would accepting any title the Queen of England, which our too mahy of our poliyticians do too readily.

  40. graywolf says:

    Obama’s bow is consistent with his amateurishness (IPOD for the Queen, etc.) and the servility he (and his hate-America aides) are so anxious to show (witness his speech in France).

  41. Shirley McDermott says:

    The Buddhists and other Asian cultures have a courtesy bow i.e. bowing from the god in me to the god in you. I think mucking about with the particulars here is counterproductive i.e. angels on the head of a pin. Think of all bows as ones of respect for each other.

  42. kao_hsien_chih says:

    obama is a young man, president or not. the king is an old man, absolute monarch or not. in bowing, he was showing a customary deference to age- not subjugating the american nation to saudi rule.
    I don’t know about this: the president of a country, young or old, represents the entire country. His actions reflect both the office and the nation, not his personal status. There’s one story, perhaps rather tangential, that I’d like to share regarding this point: about 15 years ago, there was a ruckus in South Korea when the president’s octogenarian father refused to stand at some public function when the president was announced–and he was the only one. People thought this was most inappropriate since, even if he is, privately, the president’s father, it was not to the person of the president but the office that people were showing respect. And this was in South Korea–where the “culture” is highly Confucian and elders are supposedly respected.
    I think NO head of any sovereign state should ever show any indication of obeisance to ANY foreign leader, in jest or otherwise. It’s not merely a matter of protocol–it’s lousy politics too. This is especially bad for a US president and ME potentates.

  43. Mike Moore says:

    Trust me, if the true leader of the United states met with King Abdullah, the bowing would have been the other way around.
    This just shows you that Obama holds little real power and they want him to know it.

  44. Tim says:

    Mike Moore,
    Just who is this true leader you speak of?

  45. frank durkee says:

    The Washington Monthly Blog reports that both Bush and his VP bowed to this same king.

  46. Patrick Lang says:

    My rather mild crticism of President Obama’s excessive display toward Abdullah bin abd al-Aziz has been the occasion for a wave of nastiness directed toward us all.
    We are described as xenophobic and ignorant yahoos reminiscent of all the worst traits of “fly-over” america.
    I find this sad as it indicates that so many who applauded criticism of Bush were merely seeking a god on the left.
    But, it has been a diversion from my recent reading on the subject of the emergence of tariqa sufism in the 11th century. pl

  47. AlexLawyer says:

    I was nauseated when I saw George W Bush kissing the king on the face and dancing arm in arm brandishing swords, and even more disgusted when we continued to sell the latest high-tech weapons to Saudi Arabia. The deference to a brutal tyrant is bipartisan.

  48. Laurence says:

    When someone says “salute the military”, a distinction should be made between the act of initiating a salute (a sign of respect for a higher ranking service member) and the act of “returning a salute” which is an acknowledgment (like “you’re welcome” is to “thank you”) and while not required (AFAIK) is considered good form. From my observation, all US Presidents return salutes routinely. But I also understand that the only case where a US President (like all other citizens) should initiate a salute is when encountering a Medal of Honor winner (the highest military award).
    Also, you may notice that the US delegation does not “dip” or lower the American flag when passing the reviewing officials in the march of national teams that is part of the Olympic opening ceremonies. And especially in light of our American revolution no American President should EVER bow to any king (and we certainly should not start with the Saudi king!). According to the US Constitution, America does not recognize “royalty”. If Obama bowed to a Saudi king, as US President, then this was a mistake for which he might consider an apology to the nation.

  49. Klyde says:

    No American should bow to a foriegn ruler. To have our president bow to this despot is beyond belief.

  50. labradog says:

    Hear these fools hyperventilate over Obama’s “bow”, while they make no mention of Bush and Cheney having done the exact same thing; there are photos of this.
    But, with these pinheads, IOKIYAR.

  51. Joel Wetzel says:

    Bowing can be construed either way, but I think of it as a sign of good manners. What bothers me is the acceptance of knighthoods by US officials from the Queen of England. This shows where their true loyalties lie. Bush, Sr., Alan Greenspan, Rudy Giuliani, are three quickly found examples of this duplicity.

  52. yermama says:

    Bunch of paranoid losers commenting on this nonsense. The world has changed in the last few months, we have a president who doesn’t give a shet what you people think, it was a gesture of respect for a foreign leader and means nothing. Bush’s photo op holding hands with the king was pathetic. It’s about time we have a president who is real and doesn’t need his handlers telling him protocol just because.

  53. P.L.
    At the risk of being tedious, I have a couple of really final observations. Many of the more vehement views on this post reflect anti-royal sentiments more appropriate to America in the 19th century. We do, after all, live in an age, when royalty is an endangered species and is in no conceivable way a threat to democratic forms of government.Most of those remaining are constitutional monarchys and don’t take a back seat to us when it comes to the democratic forms of government.
    The prohibition against dipping the flag in salute during the Olympic opening ceremonies has always seemed to me to be an example of silliness. Of course the United States recognizes royalty and has since the revolution when we sent ambassadors and envoys to monarchs and sent a long letter to George IIId. (The Declaration of Independence)
    The practice of returning salutes by our presidents is very new, as has been mentioned, and is a perfect example of the way a practice, once initiated, is practically impossible to get rid of. The other great example is the ending of important adresses with ” May God continue to, and never, never stop, bless the United States of America. Any president choosing not to do those things would probably be roundly condemned as having shaken the very fondations of the republic. I suppose that they’ve now reached the status of (unwritten) protocol.

  54. Robster says:

    What about kisses and hand holding?

  55. Diaper Dave says:

    I recall Bush and King Abdullah kissing/holding hands….what about that?
    And if a president shouldnt bow to a King shouldnt he also boo the Queen?

  56. Patrick Lang says:

    I don’t know which post this goes to but Charles I asked me to post it. pl
    “Norman, you misinterpret anger as hatred. Ignoring argument, you wield the primitive club of the antisemitic smear, standard armament of the defender of the indefensible. In a manner we have now become familiar – and many angry with – you offer irrelevant psychiatric counsel rather than consider the stability the Pakistani polity, Israeli foreign policy and the possible future synergy between them, and stray banana peels.
    I don’t have the time at the moment, nor the inclination, to rebut ad hominem comment, previously enjoined in this forum, with footnoted argument.
    I suggest you search this forum for posts on the SUBJECTS, although I don’t recall any specifically dealing with mental health, or visit the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights at
    There have been any number of posts here about Pakistan which may be fruitful to search as well.
    Perhaps you could review the history of the Occupation, and the abject failure of Israel, at the height of its powers, to make peace, or even reduce the level of barbarity Israelis inflict on their captives, – including the apparent cold-blooded murder of children, a recent post on this forum having included an apparent transcript of an IDF officer confirming the murder, sourced from The Guardian – while relentlessly expanding the illegal settlements.
    If the reporting you were exposed to during Israel’s recent criminal assault on Gaza did not make you angry, its not for me to tell you that you can get counseling that may expose the root of your apparent imperiousness to the inhumanity of shooting fish in a barrel with an F-16, although it may, but I do ask that you surf the net or the local library for more reportage of Palestinian suffering.
    Start at the PCHR above, and review the roster of Palestinians, including women, children and duly elected legislators murdered and kidnapped by the IDF and other Israeli security services throughout the course of the Occupation.
    If less sanguinary, research is more to your liking, start with United Nations resolutions of the matter.
    Two excellent books, one by a respected Israeli academic and eminent journalist, another by that champion of primary source truth-telling, Noam Chomsky, may help you further divine the nature of my psychosis.
    In theses books you find well cited blithe admissions from generations of Israelis about their patient plans to execute their 2000 year old land claim for Eretz Israel, and measures to deal with any who stand it it’s way. You will also find well documented accounts of the lengths they have and apparently will go to to retain and expand their alleged biblical entitlement.
    “Lords Of The Land – The War Over Israel’s Settlements In The Occupied Territories”, by
    Israeli historian Idith Zertal and Akiva Eldar, cheif political columnist for Ha’aretz.
    “Fateful Triangle – The United States, Israel & The Palestinians” by Noam Chomsky
    You may consider the future of Pakistan by reading any number of recent books an the subject, here I can recommend
    “Descent into chaos: the U.
    S. and the failure of nation building in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia” by Ahmed Rashid.
    With regard to the mental state of Avigdor, Jaun Cole recently posted a selection the world according to Avigdor, sourced from the Electronic Intifada, which I also commend to you in full, but citing Juan Coles’ few examples, found here:
    I tell you Norman, my shrink won’t listen to any of this – its irrelevant to my delusions.” Charles I

  57. Patrick Lang says:

    yo mama too
    Explain to all us folks who voted for Obama how the world changed.
    Explain to us how King Abdullah bin Abd al-aziz is seen as a symbol of 3rd world liberation in all them places.
    Explain pl

  58. curious says:

    Well, I don’t know about ya’ll but I find that picture worth a million bucks.
    Everybody’s face just captured the moment perfectly.
    Sarkozy has that “dude, not again.” look. “You are over doing it. plus you are ruining it for everybody. Pecking order is a good thing.”
    I specially like the young dude on the left. He maybe the King’s handler. I can feel his mind grinding… “no no, this can’t happen to me. What’s he doing? The king is going to grill me for not briefing the prez agreed protocol. Dude, … I am fried”
    I specially like the King’s face. “Heh, heh…. Ooooo. I think I like this guy.. very clever”
    All in all, everybody looks human and seems to be in the moment. I just hope Obama knows what he is doing. Everybody definitely has some surprised look in their face.
    Anyway, browsing the news on the O’s big trip to europe and turkey.
    – France are definitely warming up and charmed with Obama’s earthy move. Sarkozy has that same look in every you tube and pictures,…. dude, not again. Yer obsessed with this “people” thing. hurry up with the handshaking the crowd already.
    – I watched the german press conference. Cordial, a bit tense and very measured, but I think they are also relieved that there is process and discussion instead of Bush old NATO. I am not so sure if Germany likes very much about changing NATO, but they do seem to recognize the problem.
    -Turkey. A big hit. I think everybody likes Obama down there. Major win. His speech strikes all the high notes.
    G20. I sense of relief and little thawing. which is good. I was expecting a complete deadlock.

  59. Arun says:

    As a private citizen I would rather miss an opportunity to meet a king or queen than show any respect to an outmoded and frankly rotten institution.
    So I wish Obama had not bowed.
    The point of checking whether Bush or any previous president bowed is simply to see whether Obama was following an established protocol and whether the right-wing (Michelle Malkin, etc.) outrage has any merit to it.

  60. Kieran says:

    Pat, you aren’t by any chance reading Ahmet Karamustafa’s book?

  61. SissCo Kids says:

    So what if Obama bowed to the Saudi Prince. Christ led by washing feet. If a bow of respect brings us closer to peace, then it was worth it. A bow is a move in a strategy of world peace and demonstrates strength of character in a willingness to show respect, not arrogance. Haven’t we had enough of the cowboy antics that took us into Iraq? Barack Obama is showing true leadership and strength of character!

  62. Ann says:

    It was obvious to many of us even before the primary campaigns heated up that Obama was nothing more than a good teleprompter reader. In just under three months in office, he has proven our worse suspicions.

  63. rjj says:

    Protocol is important, but how much news coverage was the following given compared with the genuflections, bows, and touchings of the first family.

    The bill is one of two introduced last week by Sens. John Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine. The other would create a position, the national cybersecurity adviser, within the Executive Office of the President.

    The bill envisions a public-private clearinghouse to share standards, and requires the president to choose one agency to respond to cyberattacks. The president would also have the authority to declare a “cybersecurity emergency.”

    A week or so ago Mearsheimer said, “The lobby has never had much trouble keeping the New York Times and the Washington Post in line, but it has few ways to silence critics on the internet.”
    The lobby might not be able to do it, but ….

  64. arbogast says:

    Well, he’s bowing to Larry Summers, too. He bows a lot.

  65. optimax says:

    This whole episode is a misunderstanding. According to the White House Press Sec. Obama bent over to shake hands with the much shorter king. Apparently the king is 52 inches tall. I’m thankful honesty has returned to the White House after being absent for so many years.

  66. K. Hayes says:

    Maybe, after the news of the would-be assassins in Turkey, he has taken to randomly ducking as a precaution.

  67. Mike says:

    Americans are making too much fuss about nothing. There is nothing wrong with US president bowing to King Abdullah. The King is a wise leader almost like a father of young Obama. So what’s the big deal about a gesture of respect.

  68. Mark Conklin says:

    Gentlemen, it wasn’t a bow. And the reason it wasn’t a bow is, it was a KISS. Look at the clip carefully. Just prior to the alledged bow, Obama grasps the Saudi King’s hand. The view is blocked by the gentleman between the action and the camera but it is easy to see what has happened. This muslim president has just bent low and kissed the hand of this yahoo. The spin doctors would rather exercise “plausible deniability” and defend the alledged bow. But a kiss of the hand? That is another matter altogether and much more difficult to spin. Just one man’s opinion of what I know I saw.

  69. optimax says:

    If Obama were an undercover Muslim, he wouldn’t live in the same house with a dog. Wait and see if Bo is chained up outside 24/7, next to the Ford Escort on blocks.

  70. Sima says:

    God how unbelievably shallow the whole world is! and u think there will ever be peace and no terrorism in the world if a bow will cause so much commotion! God help us all!

  71. curious says:

    This is very interesting. Fundamentalist political Islam always has the same pattern: Saudi Wahabism + Pakistan ISI training + State Dept. hackeries.
    Somebody really have to come down hard on Saudi religious school and ISI endless military training to militants And start whacking the idiots at states.
    All the so called al qaeda related groups/political parties have these ingredients. The pattern similarities are too incredible.
    I wonder if I can start predicting who goes to hell next.
    “If we emphasize Shariah or religious matters, our supporters will decline, so we should emphasize mostly clean government and anticorruption,” he said in an interview at the party’s headquarters, whose facade mostly bears images of the party’s humanitarian activities and has no references to its religious goals.
    But Mr. Zainuddin — who graduated from Lipia, a Saudi-financed university here that promotes Wahhabism, a rigid interpretation of Islam — also believes in the party’s founding goal of carrying out Shariah in Indonesia.
    The party is now split between those committed to pursuing the party’s Islamist goals and those who want to stress good government.

  72. Barry Kraft says:

    The King of Saudi Arabia is Protector of the muslim’s Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina. If Obama bowed down to him, it becomes clear that in spite of what he says, he quite obviously really is a muslim. thank you for posting and sharing it.

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