Obama’s latest Oriental-leader malfunction

Paul K. writes:

This photo of President Obama speaking with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Copenhagen comes from the White House flickr site.

To me our president looks very much like a guy who can’t make his next mortgage payment meeting with his loan officer.


LA replies:

That’s probably not fair, as all that’s really happening is that they’re having a conversation and Obama is leaning forward to make a point. But I admit it LOOKS the way you describe. Except it’s not like a man asking a bank officer for a loan, but more like a scapegrace college student asking his father for some extra dough. As a man who never had a real father, Obama has spent his life looking for a father figure, and in typical leftist fashion keeps finding father figures in foreign, anti-American, Islamic, and Communist leaders. And it’s funny, because with the Chinese premier’s prim and restrained facial expression in response to Obama’s supplicating and confiding posture, it’s as though the Chinese were thinking, “Why is this American acting so chummy with me? Doesn’t he know that I am his adversary? These foolish Americans are ripe for the picking.”

Or it’s as though Obama thought he were Bassanio in Act I Scene I of The Merchant of Venice, asking his dearest friend, the wealthy merchant Antonio, for a second loan to cover the loss of the first. Obama doesn’t realize that Wen Jiabao is not Antonio:


‘Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
How much I have disabled mine estate,
By something showing a more swelling port
Than my faint means would grant continuance:
Nor do I now make moan to be abridged
From such a noble rate; but my chief care
Is to come fairly off from the great debts
Wherein my time something too prodigal
Hath left me gaged. To you, Antonio,
I owe the most, in money and in love,
And from your love I have a warranty
To unburden all my plots and purposes
How to get clear of all the debts I owe.


I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it;
And if it stand, as you yourself still do,
Within the eye of honour, be assured,
My purse, my person, my extremest means,
Lie all unlock’d to your occasions.


In my school-days, when I had lost one shaft,
I shot his fellow of the self-same flight
The self-same way with more advised watch,
To find the other forth, and by adventuring both
I oft found both: I urge this childhood proof,
Because what follows is pure innocence.
I owe you much, and, like a wilful youth,
That which I owe is lost; but if you please
To shoot another arrow that self way
Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt,
As I will watch the aim, or to find both
Or bring your latter hazard back again
And thankfully rest debtor for the first.


You know me well, and herein spend but time
To wind about my love with circumstance;
And out of doubt you do me now more wrong
In making question of my uttermost
Than if you had made waste of all I have:
Then do but say to me what I should do
That in your knowledge may by me be done,
And I am prest unto it: therefore, speak.

* * *

Paul K. replies:

There are a couple of things that strike me about the photo. One is that Obama is not making eye contact with the premier. His eyes are lowered, as if he’s lost in his own words. Also, his back is bent a bit too much, recalling his bow to the Japanese emperor; the head of the tall president is lower than that of the short premier. Wen Jiabao looks stand-offish, skeptical, perhaps contemptuous.

It could be pointed out that this reflects a mere instant in time and that whoever chose the photo did so deliberately, just as photos of Bush or Palin seem to be chosen to make them look foolish. However, this photo was released by the White House, so it projects an image the administration is comfortable with.

LA writes:

By the way, on top of “tweeter,” do we now have to deal with something spelled “flickr”?

- end of initial entry -

Christopher B. writes:

This photo may just be an instant of time, and therefore not be very meaningful. However, the body language of Americans (and, more broadly, Westerners) can shock others. Hands in pockets, feet stuck out towards the other person, walking round with coffee in the hand, and so on. Obama is particularly bad at this—the best example being his throwing down of a wreath at a ceremony at Ground Zero a couple of years ago. People who cannot carry themselves properly in public are not taken seriously by, for example, the Chinese and Japanese. I say this after living in Japan for most of my life. When I see clips of the Oscar ceremonies, I am always shocked at the undignified way the Americans hold the trophy and wave it around, compared with the reverence with which Japanese hold it, and the way the Japanese stand and move with dignity. (The Europeans are somewhere between these two extremes.)

By the way, has anyone pointed out Obama’s similarity to Mussolini when giving speeches: head turned upwards, jaw jutting out, serious and arrogant look on face … ?

LA replies:

Mussolini! Of course. Starting with Obama’s victory speech in the Iowa caucases in early January 2008, an arrogant, dictatorial manner began to emerge. I noted it at the time, but I never nailed it as Mussolini-like, which really does capture it.

In any case, he’s Mussolini-like toward Americans, and groveling toward foreign, non-white leaders.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 20, 2009 08:00 PM | Send

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