World leaders as clowns

Remember when President Kennedy wouldn’t even put on the ceremonial hats of organizations he visited, because it would make him look undignified?

World leaders as clowns in Vietnam.jpg

Kennedy would politely take the hat given to him by his hosts and perhaps hold it aloft so the audience could see it, but then, instead of wearing it, he would unobtrusively hand it over to his personal assistant Dave Powers. Such a discrete “Thanks, but no thanks” from today’s leaders, gathering in Vietnam, is inconceivable.

- end of initial entry -

James R. writes:

I hope Bush and the quartet don’t visit the Yanamamos.

Gary M. writes:

What’s the big deal, other than the fact that Bush would probably rather be wearing a sombrero and serape?

Actually, the thought occurred to me that maybe this was just a setup on the part of the Vietnamese. You know, they probably all sat around shooting the bull and then one said “I got it! We’ll make them wear these stupid-looking shirts and tell them it’s some kind of traditional Vietnamese garb! They won’t catch on, trust me. They’re all too stupid—especially Bush!”

LA replies:

I sure don’t remember seeing that particular type of shirt on Vietnamese before.

You say it’s not a big deal, but you in fact just made my point for me. The president of the United States and the other national leaders have made themselves look stupid and undignified. I think that matters.

N. writes:

That image looks like something out of a Monty Python skit. Try this mental exercise: imagine Dwight Eisenhower, Charles DeGaulle, Winston Churchill at a meeting with one or more east Asian leaders.

Would they even entertain for a moment wearing such things?

What you are showing us is a photographic representation of the liberal requirement to embrace “the Other”, made manifest. The confident, self-possessed leaders of 50 years ago would have politely refused to wear such garb. We need not even wonder how Theodore Roosevelt or Gladstone would have reacted to such a request…

Mark A. writes:

N is exactly right. This is all about embracing the other.

Multiculturalism is not about all cultures being equal. Multiculturalism is about how other cultures are superior to Western culture. (Notice how Westerners gush when they talk to someone fresh-off-the-boat from a third world hell hole: “Oh my gosh, so tell me all about Chechnya!”)

The ultimate irony of the photo is that Bush is cracking a joke to Putin. Look at the smirk on Bush’s face. Bush is still the class clown so many years later. Bush is not a serious person. He is standing in Vietnam, a Communist country that defeated the U.S. in a war. (Attn readers: spare me the lecture on the fact that we withdrew. Regardless, they won!) Furthermore, he thinks it’s an opportune time to crack a joke with a Putin who is a meat-eating, black-belt, former KGB assassin.

Could anyone imagine someone like Richard Nixon doing this? In 1992, Richard Nixon observed the rise of the baby-boomers to power and wryly stated that “If Clinton gets elected, I’ll know that this country has finally gone to hell.” He may have been right.

- further comments -

Paul C. writes:

Don’t forget. Calvin Coolidge made a fool of himself by wearing Inidan head dresses. A quick look on google only brought this one example:

But I know there are others. I must say, however, that Coolidge’s Sioux War Bonnet looks rather distinguished in comparison your photo of Moe knocking heads with Larry, while Mr. Moto looks on.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 20, 2006 08:19 AM | Send

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