The Rules of First Contact

Anyone who knows anything about Star Trek is familiar with the concept of First Contact. Here is a thought on it from a Trekker:
The term first contact describes the first official encounter between representatives of two races or governments. Occasionally, the official first contact takes place years or even decades after members of the species involved have first met.
That seems to be an okay segue to an AP article titled
SPIN METER: Did Obama grovel?
The article begins by saying:
Some conservative commentators seized on President Barack Obama's deep bow to Japan's Emperor Akihito over the weekend, accusing the U.S. commander in chief of groveling before a foreign leader.
The article goes on to say that this is not too unusual and gives examples of how other presidents acted when they interacted with other foreign leaders. It seems silly to call President Obama's act of respect as one of 'groveling'.. comes across to me as pure spin.

What do you think? Did President Bush grovel when he held the hand of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's hand? Or do you think it an act of humility to acknowledge another countries leader according to the customs of that country?

I wonder.. what would the Captain of the Enterprise do?


  1. Well, if the captain ever offended any of the customs of the worlds they were on, he probably would have been vaporized. :)

    It's amazing the ridiculous lengths people will go to in tearing down those they diagree with.

  2. Loved the video clip I saw this week that showed the FOX news club blasting, blasting, blasting Obama -- intercut with images showing Eisenhower, Nixon, Bush, etc making the same gesture. (AP has always been anti-Obama too).

    We have a ton of bozos out there who just look for something to complain about Obama every day -- just like we had similar bozos making up stuff to complain about Bush.

    While the "bow" blow-up us pure spin, many of the stories are totally made up, like Obama redesigned coins to make the word God smaller (design approved in 2005), that Obama issued a postage stamp commemorating Muslim terrorists (stamp issued in 2001) or that he is calling the tree at the white house a "holiday tree" and not a christmas tree (just made up).

  3. is he the first US president to do so?

  4. I'm not an Obama fan but it's ridiculous that someone/anyone would find a way to make this any kind of issue at all. Jeez...the US isn't God. Acknowledging another with respect? Please. There is no problem here whatsoever. (My thought of the day is that we all over think. This might prove that.)

    (Bob...this is Andy from Thirty Seconds. I have 2 blogs. Just so ya' know...)

  5. It's inappropriate unless it's reciprocated, which in this case it was not. Why would the Emperor of Japan deserve more respect than the President of the United States? At least he didn't get down on his knees.

  6. 4 out of 5 comments are fair. Pretty good score!

  7. I don't agree that a sign of respect is only ok if it's reciprocated.

    but where did this happen? if it was on Japanese soil, then it was totally appropriate... if it was on US soil, the debate goes on.

  8. People are misinterpreting this "sign of respect" business. If the bow is not reciprocated, yes, it is still a sign of respect, but it is a sign of respect given from someone in an inferior position to someone in a superior position. It is the notion of the President of the United States making himself inferior to the Emperor of Japan that is inappropriate, not the intended show of respect. Obviously, I don't think it was intentional, but to say there's nothing wrong with it is to applaud a gaffe.

  9. I think that you have a different perspective on this because you live in Japan Casey. I don't think others who are spinning this are doing so because of the reasons you articulate. IMO they are just doing what they always do.. finding fault because they dislike the president.

  10. Of course, that's going to be the case no matter who's President. The same thing happened to Bush. But this was a serious gaffe that I would hope is not repeated. Japanese people expect foreigners to make mistakes when they try to "do things the Japanese way," so it's not that big of a deal, but I'm afraid this sort of thing will happen again, because no one around the President seems to care that it was inappropriate.

    Note that Nixon's bow was reciprocated. I have no problem with bowing, I do it all the time. The problem is that it was done wrong and in an embarrassing way.


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