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Ethiomonarchist

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Reply with quote  #16 
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The picture at the head of this thread was very little seen by the Japanese people, as the Japanese government considered the President to have made such a spectacle of himself that he would become a laughing stock, which they did not wish for their guest. So they leaned on their media not to publish it. How respectful is a naive display of ignorance on the part of a grown man? Not very, I would submit.
 


Actually that's not quite right since the Imperial Household Agency did release a statement to the press expressing their pleasure at the respect that the President's bow showed to the Emperor and the Japanese people.  The bow was clumsily executed, but it was clearly taken very well by the Japanese.

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BaronVonServers

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Reply with quote  #17 

The fact that he bowed, not the way he bowed, right?


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Peter

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Reply with quote  #18 
Another perspective on the bow. Since it's me, you know that it's not likely to be favourable. In fact if I came across an article putting up a convincing defence I would post it, but this is not that one. I'm not altogether sure how reasonable and correct the view taken is, but it seems plausible. The last paragraph does summarise exactly the view I'd taken already.
Ponocrates

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Reply with quote  #19 
From the last paragraph of the article:

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This only goes to underline the reason why diplomatic protocol exists in the first place -- to exclude through ritual actions all possibilities that error, misunderstanding, or personal pique might interfere with matters of state."  

It's hard to learn this on the fly.   Another good reason for a hereditary head of state who learns this from childhood until it's second nature.   It's hard for a US president, on the one hand, to act as head of state, to inspire people (both domestic and foreign), and to represent the whole nation, and on the other hand, to represent a party or faction and to push policies that are not necessarily popular to Americans or to those abroad.      It's a difficult balancing act. 


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Maharajah

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Reply with quote  #20 
I believe the whole controversy surrounding Obama's bow is ridiculous. He was just going along with tradition and showing respect. And even if he doesn't bow to western monarchs, it ultimately doesn't matter, because although bowing can have a lot of symbolic importance, it ultimately didn't have any legal consequences: it's not like America is property of Japan now or anything.
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BaronVonServers

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Reply with quote  #21 
I for one am upset that they he doesn't seem to bow to Christian Kings and Queens. 

He's saying something by his choice to Bow or Not (he is not following a protocol), and I don't think I like what his Bowing to Muslims, and Shintos but not the Lutherans and Anglicans seems, to me, to be saying......

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Peter

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Reply with quote  #22 
If he'd been "going along with tradition and showing respect", he'd have spent a whole two minutes learning how to bow properly, without making himself look ridiculous. He is not a small child whose naivety is charming, he is a grown man and the President of the United States, and his ignorance embarrasses himself and his country. The selectivity the Baron mentions, as many have before, also gives the lie to the "showing respect" claim. Disagreeing with Ponocrates, there is nothing hard about getting these things right. The President does not have to enquire into the minutiae himself, he has a staff to do that, not to mention the US Embassy in Japan and the entire State Department at his service. All he need do is listen briefly and all controversy is averted. The incident may be seen as minor, but very little to do with a President is that. And it can also be seen as symptomatic, of arrogance and inexperience.
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