Earlier this week, President Barack Obama sparked outrage among many citizens and further incensed his critics when he greeted Japanese Emperor Akihito with a firm handshake… and a deep bow?
Some have labeled Obama’s bow as one of cultural understanding, but I respectfully disagree. As a longtime studier of Japan and its culture, I know for a fact that such a low bow is not one of equality, but rather one of docility: of submission towards a stronger, more powerful being. The last image our country needs right now is that of a weak-looking president, and Obama unintentionally played the part.
The drastic motion, however, is not the biggest problem here. Rather, it is the fact that he bowed at all. I feel it is inappropriate for any foreign leader to bow down to another, ally or not. Obama did not display respect towards Akihito and his country. Instead, he displayed submission on behalf of our proud nation. How can the United States remain a world superpower when our leader is so apologetic and deferential in his dealings with other foreign leaders?
While I have never been a staunch supporter of Obama’s, I have never questioned his kindheartedness. I do not doubt that his grandeur gesture was meant to be one of benevolence. The execution, however, is regrettable.
Readers, what do you think? Sound off below. I’d love to hear what you have to say on this issue.