Social Question

Cruiser's avatar

Obama bows to Communist Leader, is this how we want to appear to the world?

Asked by Cruiser (40401points) April 12th, 2010

President Barack Obama greets Chinese President Hu Jintao during the official arrivals for the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington and I am frankly shocked by this severe breach of etiquette!! This is not the first time he broke protocol where he has bowed to another world leader…what gives???

http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/slideshow/photo//100412/480/urn_publicid_ap_org52d493edeb0243ef84cbfc87f58f4b6a/

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85 Answers

augustlan's avatar

Isn’t this the customary greeting in China? If so, I see nothing wrong with it at all.

Blackberry's avatar

Nationalists…...such an immature way of thinking. Diplomacy brings results…..

jrpowell's avatar

Were you alright with this?

Bernard's avatar

To quote from talkingpointsmemo:
You can’t flip out when the black president bows to foreign dignitaries, as appropriate for their culture, when you were silent when the white presidents did the same. Bush. Nixon. Ike. You didn’t even make a peep when Bush held hands and kissed leaders of countries that are not on “kissing terms” with the US.

here is bush bowing
Here is nixon bowing
here is Ike bowing
here is bush hand-holding

Bonus points for bush kissing a guy

I ask you. WHAT GIVES?
That entire article is worth reading, btw. Not just the part about bowing.

squidcake's avatar

GASP.
Why would we ever want to appear respectful to the other nations of the world?!

Cruiser's avatar

@augustlan No other sitting President in the history of this nation has ever bowed to a foreign diplomat let alone a leader of a Communist country! How is this good for the image of our country? How does this make our service men and women feel that their commander in chief bows to a scum leader?

augustlan's avatar

@Cruiser That’s simply not true. See @Bernard‘s links, above.

plethora's avatar

Removed by me

Cruiser's avatar

@johnpowell I got picture of the reach around I would be happy to e-mail to you! Cheap gas is what it is all about!!

Cruiser's avatar

@squidcake No but being respectful to the country that owns a vast majority of your debt would make sense! China wants to push back from the debt table and this is the result!!

Bernard's avatar

@Cruiser Why would you have a picture of a reach-around? that seems like something most people wouldn’t keep with them.

Cruiser's avatar

@Bernard The pictures are nothing…it’s the video that is a gold mine!!

kevbo's avatar

How many points for a photoshopped photo of Bush kissing a guy?

plethora's avatar

Perhaps there is so much hue and cry about Obama’s bowing to heads of state when previous presidents have as well…..is that he is considered a left wing socialist already buttering up his buddies.

Cruiser's avatar

@kevbo I will gladly trade all my points for that! Can you put him in clown shoes and a tin foil hat?

Bernard's avatar

I’m sorry. I never actually answered your question.
“Obama bows to Communist Leader, is this how we want to appear to the world?”

Yes. This is how I would like for my nation to appear to the world.

Cruiser's avatar

<<Cruiser adds Bernard to the list>>

squidcake's avatar

@Bernard
I’d give you 100 “Great Answer“s for that if I could.

Cruiser's avatar

I can tell that town hall meeting was a huge hit tonight!

Cruiser's avatar

@augustlan Take off your rose colored glasses and look at those links…nobody was bowing…times were tough back then even for Presidents…they were looking for loose change!!

kevbo's avatar

@Cruiser, I wouldn’t be so quick to whip out the tin foil hat. The Bank of China is probably one of the three legs we’re standing on at the moment.

Cruiser's avatar

@augustlan BTW…the customary greeting in America is a hand shake sans bow!! This meeting was here in DC!!

loser's avatar

Respectful? I believe so…

Cruiser's avatar

@kevbo Tough shit!! And China knows it and is here to question Obama on why they should keep buying our Monopoly Money! A bow is worth another 300 billion I would say!

squidcake's avatar

Alright, if it’s a serious answer you want, it’s a serious answer you’ll get.

Yes, this is how I want American to appear to the world. I want American to regain it’s good standing. I want to show that we respect others even if we disagree. I want to live in a nation where bowing to a world leader is seen as courtesy instead of weakness or communist sympathy. I want to live in a nation where we don’t feel the need to question the birth documents of our president because the color of his skin shocks us into a burger-eating, flag-waving, heads-in-the-sand stupor.

Don’t like that all of the other countries seem to have it out for us? Well, then don’t you think we should try a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T?

augustlan's avatar

It doesn’t matter where the meeting is. Respect knows no geography.

Cruiser's avatar

@squidcake That actually made me laugh!! WTG!

Grisaille's avatar

Obama bows to Communist Leader, is this how we want to appear to the world?

As a country that respects foreign culture, custom and peoples? Yeah.

Not everything is dick-measuring. Not everything is pushing your chest out and looking down your nose in a fit of testosterone-addled distaste and self-importance. It’s called humility and respect; or, alternatively, if that is too much for you to stomach (read: makes you feel like a limp-dick): diplomacy.

squidcake's avatar

What a coincidence. Your question made me laugh as well.

Cruiser's avatar

@augustlan This is not an ice cream social we are talking about!! This is the world stage!! Obama had to sell out to China to get their support to put pressure on Iran and given the chance Obama would according to your standards show respect to them too!! WTH is going on here?? Just watch the hay the rest of the world makes out of our Presidents “respect” he showed China…we are so screwed…

jaytkay's avatar

I was just in a Walmart and it was FILLED with communist Chinese products.

THat wouldn’t happen under a Republican president.

Cruiser's avatar

Eat me @squidcake!! Ooops did I just break a new rule? ;) lol!

Kraigmo's avatar

Countries, and humans, who are secure with themselves, would not hesitate to bow, either out of respect, or out of tact in order to get something later.

Obama did not breach any Chinese etiquette, so what he did was appropriate. He didn’t hurt anyone, and he lowered the psychic defenses of the Chinese officials.

No need to destroy diplomatic standing out of some egotistical need to look proud or act too good for such royal gestures.

Such an easy little thing he did, and it gives us more power when dealing with the Chinese. So he did the right thing.

There is no ego in intelligence.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Much to do about nothing.
It’s way more dignified than GWB holding hands with the Suadi prime minister.
Ohoho, that was embarrassing!

squidcake's avatar

@Cruiser
Cute, really cute.

jaytkay's avatar

At least he wasn’t pansy enough to wear a dress for their amusement.

Cruiser's avatar

@squidcake Just messing with ya!! You did make me laugh!! +6

squidcake's avatar

@Cruiser
I’m so confused…

Cruiser's avatar

@Kraigmo I bow to my banker too!! I gets me a free pen every time I make a deposit!

mammal's avatar

Capitalism should always bow to Communism. He should bow to the Vietnamese premiere, Kim Yong-Il, Castro too, and beg their forgiveness.

Cruiser's avatar

@Grisaille I will have to take your comment into consideration the next 1000 times I have to watch Obama turn up his nose at the American public.

jerv's avatar

Let me get this straight… we can kiss OPEC in accordance with local customs but are not allowed to respect the culture of another nation because YOU don’t like them, right?

Sorry, but if you insist that it’s okay to disregard the cultures of others then that door swings both ways. Then again, our record on human rights isn’t all that great so you have no right to complain when Muslim extremists cut the heads of of Americans.

You can’t have it both ways. Respect is a two way street.

edmann13's avatar

The trolls be trollin.

Grisaille's avatar

Man, I would love to see what these guys would say if a Chinese diplomat refused to greet Bush’s outstretched hand.

alive's avatar

the US is seen by others for its foreign policy, not for one random photo.

bunnygrl's avatar

Good grief what a lot of hoo ha. The man is a diplomat. It was a respectful gesture, respectful, NOT subordinate. Obama is having to repair a lot of damage done by the Bush administration world wide. In truth, IMHO there has been no justice, Bush as well as Blair should be dragged to the hague and tried as the war criminals they are. So many lives lost. History will judge them. So to answer your question, it was the fitting and correct thing to do. Hand on heart, I wish we in the UK had as clear a choice on our upcoming general election, as you guys did on your last.
hugs everyone xx

mattbrowne's avatar

Hu Jintao is a dictator, but he is not a communist. He’s more like a aggressive capitalist like the ones in Europe and the US in the 19th century before social elements were introduced into our market economies. Communism in China only exists on paper. Many factory workers are exploited ruthlessly and they got no rights whatsoever.

jerv's avatar

@mattbrowne ~And we treat our American employees so well….

Seriously, we don’t have it as bad as other places, but working a full-time job or two here is no guarantee that you’ll earn enough to live on because your CEO needs a fat bonus, and I’ve experienced enough shady dealings that sometimes I would almost prefer the honesty of a sweatshop.

mattbrowne's avatar

@jerv – Our countries are not perfect either, but China on average when it comes to factories is far worse. American employees have to the right to sue and when they really have a case their chances are good.

jerv's avatar

@mattbrowne Maybe I just value honesty too highly.

JeffVader's avatar

I’m not American so I suppose it’s abit cheeky of me to answer…... but I thought it was good to see a president being presidential again.

jrpowell's avatar

This wasn’t that long ago.

“The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York City on March 25, 1911, was one of the largest industrial disasters in the history of the city of New York, causing the death of 146 garment workers, almost all of them women, who either died from the fire or jumped from the fatal height. It was the worst workplace disaster in New York City until September 11, 2001. Most women could not escape the burning building because the managers would lock the doors to the stairwells and exits to keep the workers from taking cigarette breaks outdoors during their shifts. Women jumped from the ninth and tenth stories as the ladders on the fire trucks could not reach these. The fire led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, which fought for better and safer working conditions for sweatshop workers in that industry. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was located inside the Asch Building, now known as the Brown Building of Science. It has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and a New York City landmark.[1]”

Unions are a good thing.

Cruiser's avatar

@johnpowell All the more reason to bow to a Communist leader who supports sweat shop factory conditions so they can kick our own asses in the free market economy! We must subordinate and show our respect so we can continue to get cheap knock off clothing and inexpensive electronics while our country is slowly being sold by the billions of debt dollars to Mr. Jintao. Silly me for not better appreciating the significance of this bow, I can only imagine what that big screen would have cost me if we were not beholden to communist China!

Qingu's avatar

@Cruiser, some of us think respectfully working with other countries—even rival countries!—to make the world a better place is more important than dickwaving.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Personally, I think it shows that Obama has nothing to prove. The whole world knows who he is and so he doesn’t have to act anymore important than other world leaders to gain respect. In my eyes, things like this make me respect him more.

Wasn’t this question asked a few months ago or did I just dream it?!

Cruiser's avatar

@Leanne1986 Bowing does show a sign of respect and is done so in a very deliberate time honored tradition of showing respect to your superiors and or elders. Obama subordinated our country to a communist country and to me that plain sucks. If the Chinese President bowed first as is Chinese custom and Obama bowed no harm no foul but I can’t help but notice the emperor did not bow at all. To me that is the bigger message being sent here. President Hu Jintao knew what he was doing there…we got dissed big time.

JeffVader's avatar

@Cruiser Also to your equals…. kings & queens bow to each other & have been for centuries. Its just protocol.

Cruiser's avatar

I know I am making a bigger deal out of this than I should have but to me all of Obamas bowing he has been doing to me shows the rest of the world he (and us) is bowing to a superior and that does not sit well with me especially when he now is bowing to the leader of the most powerful communist country in the world. I will let Wikipidia have the last word…

“A superior addressing an inferior will generally only nod the head slightly (some may not bow at all), while an inferior will bend forward slightly from the waist.”

breedmitch's avatar

Crusier, you’ll see what you want to see, and read into it what you want to read into it because you, personally do not like President Obama.
That’s fine. Just know you’re wrong.

Cruiser's avatar

@breedmitch Plain as day..Obama is bowing and in a traditional subordinate role!! You have a lot of nerve telling me I am wrong about anything especially this. Obama is kissing the ass of the only person/country left standing who can carry more of this incredible debt he is amassing. With out China we sink like a rock. You better believe he will bow to his savior. I’m surprised he didn’t get down on his knees and kiss his feet!

Qingu's avatar

The thing about dominance hierarchies is that it’s something dogs and chimpanzees tend to care about more than, you know, mature and civilized human beings.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Obama was addressing the head of a foreign state.You bow if you are their subject.He must wish to appear inferior. He is not worthy of the office of President.

breedmitch's avatar

Yes, sir. I do have a lot of nerve.

Cruiser's avatar

@breedmitch That took nerve calling me Sir! ;D

jerv's avatar

@Cruiser With their economic strength and potential military threat, I believe it is in our best interests to treat them with respect. After all, if we respect them and they try something then it’s a bit of a blow lose of honor/face whereas pulling shit on someone who is belligerent is perfectly acceptable.
I am sure that such things are calculated, just as Bush’s intentional mispronunciation of Saddam Hussein’s name was calculated to convey disrespect. I mean, you do know that other cultures have different rules than us, so it strikes me as odd that you would assume that anybody savvy enough to get into the White House would not have the brains to do their homework (or have their advisers do it) in order to convey the message that they want to convey.
Also, there is a difference between respecting someone and liking them.

alive's avatar

@Cruiser why do you assume we are superior in the first place? a country is a country. there is not really a way to measure one country’s “superiority” compared to another.

mattbrowne's avatar

Maybe you should have a look here

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowing#Bowing_in_Mainland_China_and_Taiwan

Bowing in China does not mean one is the underling and the other is the superior.

Almost the entire world has accepted the hand shake as a sign of greeting when dealing with people from western cultures. Why not show some respect for other gestures as well? This does not mean that Obama endorses Chinese sweatshops.

Cruiser's avatar

@alive There is no assumption on my part…it is fact. Maybe not for long though the way Obama is driving the bus.

Cruiser's avatar

@mattbrowne I think it does as your source is exactly where I got this quote…

“A superior addressing an inferior will generally only nod the head slightly (some may not bow at all), while an inferior will bend forward slightly from the waist.”

wonderingwhy's avatar

From the picture, his bow is now where near deep enough to imply inferiority, particularly for a westerner and considering the situation. Besides the intent of the bow, as supported by the handshake, seems to extend nothing more than greeting, respect, and thanks for the president’s attendance.

And yes, that is exactly how I would expect a national leader, or anyone else for that matter, to act when formally meeting someone whom they have invited to an event.

mattbrowne's avatar

If you are a non-native gesture performer, the gesture does not have to be perfect. It’s like having an accent while speaking a non-native language.

Gruz06's avatar

This whole idea that America doesn’t have to observe other cultures or ideals is absurd. Observing other’s customs, especially coming from the President, shows that we have come a long way and don’t pedestal ourselves like some nations tend to think we do. And quite frankly, they are mostly right. I don’t know how many times I have been somewhere and there has been a non-english speaking family, and the people around make sly comments, such as, “If you live here, you should speak English.” Hell, some don’t bother to learn foreign languages (even simple phrases) if they travel out of the country. So why should anyone else make it a point to learn English? My point here is that recognizing others’ culture, regardless of political standing, isn’t wrong, it’s showing respect for a fellow man.

Gruz06's avatar

Oh, and yes…this is how I want to appear to the world.

Cruiser's avatar

@Gruz06 I would normally have to agree with you regarding recognizing traditions and if we apply your reasoning to this “incident” then the Chinese President surely should have acknowledged and respected our President with a return bow. He didn’t!! He totally dissed him and our country!! No one here seems to get that part. He is Chinese!! Chinese bow as a greeting! He didn’t even bow!! How much clearer of a F*** you Obama and America message could he send??

JeffVader's avatar

@Cruiser But that just makes the Chinese premier look like a twat & Obama look like the statesman!

Cruiser's avatar

@JeffVader I disagree. That just proves that he knows we need to kiss his ass. He knows how bad Obama need his cash to fund his deficit spending, bailouts and health care bill and China’s assistance in putting pressure on Iran and has skillfully demonstrated his upper hand during this greeting is all. I am surprised he didn’t pat Obama on the head!

JeffVader's avatar

@Cruiser I suspect your letting your general political views cloud what was really happening….. but who knows, maybe you’re right. However, to everyone else in the world, Obama ended up looking like the true statesman, even if thats not how it was seen in America.

Cruiser's avatar

@JeffVader I will concede acting like a stateman part. But any presidential history buff knows the brinkmanship that plays out in these public meet and greets and I think Obama just slipped up big time. We are talking major power moves here and we have always held the upper hand on the worlds stage and Obama just handed that one to China.

JeffVader's avatar

@Cruiser Well, sometimes when you’re in the weaker position, being seen to be statesman like is all you’ve got left. Us Brits know that for sure, we’ve had to play second, then third fiddle since WW2, & now it’s the US turn to play second fiddle I guess.

mattbrowne's avatar

@JeffVader – You said, but that just makes the Chinese premier look like a twat & Obama look like the statesman!

Exactly. I couldn’t agree more.

Hu Jintao is a dictator. He is responsible for the imprisonment and the execution of many political dissidents in his country. Hu Jintao will not be remembered as a great man in future history books (at least not in the free world). He will not win the Nobel Peace Prize. He suffers from delusions of grandeur and megalomania perhaps thinking his country is superior to the US and bowing is not necessary.

alive's avatar

@Cruiser just because you don’t like obama as a president doesn’t mean you are right about this whole bowing thing. it seems that all the evidence about what the bow would mean in this context points to it having nothing to do with “weakness”

Ron_C's avatar

I just want to say that I travel to both Chinas the PROC and Taiwan. Bowing is frowned upon in the People’s republic because, theoretically, everyone is equal in a communist countries.

People do bow in Taiwan for two reasons, first because it is the custom, second to show that they are different than the PROC. Nobody, however, bows as much as the Japanese.

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