Obie the Obsequious

The other day President Obama seemed to bow upon first meeting King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. Americans should not bow to any person, for to do so would be to show your obeisance to them. "One does not bow or curtsy to a foreign monarch, because the gesture symbolizes recognition of her power over her subjects." (Miss Manners' Guide, 1990, p.697) We are born free and not subservient to monarchs or aristocrats. It is especially shocking for the President of the United States, who represents all Americans, to show such fealty to a foreign potentate. Juxtapose Barak Obama’s bow to King Fahd with Michelle Obama’s condescending pat on the back to Queen Elizabeth. To even touch the British monarch is a serious breach of protocol, but to do so in such a patronizing manner seems to show a great lack of respect. Note also the pat on the back given to President Obama yesterday by Venezuela’s Marxist dictator Hugo Chavez. Should an American head of state tolerate such condescension from a dictator?

Should our president also show outward signs of subservience to King Fahd? The majority of the world’s Muslims hold him in great regard, not necessarily because he is the king of Saudi Arabia, but because he is the guardian of the holiest places of Islam: Mecca and Medina. Islamic law demands that Dhimmis (Jews and Christians subdued by Muslims) show submission to their Muslim conquerors by bowing. The Quran (9:29) tells Muslims to “Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture [Jews and Christians who] follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.” Dhimmis are required to bow or lay prostrate before their Muslim master. To refuse to do so would mean certain death.

One wonders if that bow to the Saudi king and the pat on the back to the British queen tell us what to expect of U.S. foreign policy over the next few years. Will we damage the special relationship we have had with democratic Britain by offending their monarch, while at the same time showing subservience to the theocratic guardian of the Islamic holy places?

One might also wonder if our new president is a Dhimmi, who shows subservience to a Muslim master, or whether he is a Muslim, who shows respect for the guardian of their holy places. We should hope that it is a third possibility, that he merely doesn’t know what he is doing.