Bowing and Kowtowing
This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Ken Blackwell was published February 1, 2011 on The Patriot Post website.
The Obama administration thinks that George W. Bush was too arrogant, that he liked to throw his weight around in international affairs. The way to win Nobel Peace Prizes was obviously to cut a more humble figure in the world. But can bowing and kowtowing be a foreign policy for the United States?
We all remember, just weeks after his inauguration, that President Obama shocked millions of Americans with his low bow before King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Mr. Obama forgot, if he ever knew, that Americans bow to nobody. And nobody should bow to that desert despot, Abdullah. Especially if you want to “reach out to Muslims,” you should recognize that Abdullah is nobody’s idea of an enlightened Muslim ruler.
That low bow was followed up by President Obama standing by while Mexican President Felipe Calderon tongue-lashed Arizona at a White House presser. That was bad enough, but President Calderon then proceeded to denounce an American state in front of a joint session of Congress. Did our elected representatives walk out? No! They applauded. At least, the liberals applauded. Happily, scores of those who applauded as our country was insulted are no longer there. The American voters sent them packing last November.
We should not forget Hillary Clinton’s famous gaffe with Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s dour foreign minister. President Obama had promised to “re-set” our relations with the ex-KGB types who now rule the Kremlin. So Hillary presented an unsmiling Lavrov with a “re-set” button — in red letters. The only problem was that those letters weren’t in Russia’s Cyrillic alphabet and they mistook the Russian word for re-set. Instead, they spelled out the word: Overcharge. How do you spell incompetence?
Now, we come to a State Dinner for China’s President Hu Jintao. It’s already been remarked that there has been no State Dinner for Britain’s Prime Minister. Nor for Israel’s. Nor Canada’s.
But this special honor has been given to the jailer of the 2010 Peace Prize recipient, Liu Xiaobo by the winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. Talk about weird!
It gets weirder still. Chinese pianist Lang Lang was invited to play before the glittering audience. Lang Lang chose an impressive song, one of his childhood favorites, we are told.
I don’t know whether American Enterprise Institute’s Nick Eberstadt can play “My Motherland” on the piano, but if you hum a few bars, Dr. Eberstadt will tell you this is a theme from a famous Chinese propaganda film from the 1950s — an anti-American film, at that.
When Friends are here, there is fine wine
But if the wolves come
What greets is the hunting gun.
The “wolves” in question in this upbeat tune are the Americans. Or should I say “the running dogs of Wall Street?”
What else can you expect from an administration that hired Anita Dunn? Her favorite political philosopher, she told us, was Mao Zedong. I wonder if Van Jones managed to make it for the State Dinner. This Obama appointee never renounced his Communism.
In his entire demeanor before the Chinese Communist ruler, Mr. Obama kowtowed. He lowered himself and us before the world’s biggest dictator.
Kowtowing is even worse, from the democracy perspective, than bowing. Kowtowing involves striking the forehead three times to the ground on approaching China’s ruler — the Emperor of the Middle Kingdom.
Lord McCartney — not Sir Paul — famously tried to get away without kowtowing before the Emperor of China. His Lordship offered instead to kneel three times as he approached the Celestial Throne of China. That legend began in 1792 and was said to have resulted in this distinguished British diplomat getting the imperial boot. At least Lord McCartney had a sense of how low he should go in advancing his sovereign’s cause.
President Obama has no such sense. Every day, it seems, he finds new ways to humiliate his country — and his countrymen.