Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What's In A Handshake?

Photo: AP
On 18 April, 2009 the world came to a virtual standstill, holding its collective stanky breath, about to be overwhelmed by "the vapors," Scarlett O'Hara stylee.

It wasn't the North Koreans launching their...satellite, which managed the impossible feat of halting earth's axial rotation, nor was it that British lady blessed with an angel's voice (but sadly pummeled by the ugly stick) belting out some shitty musical number from Les Mis. No sir.

What managed to plunge the news outlets and political talking bobbleheads into an analytical aneurysm (yees, I know...alliteration kills) was a simple handshake between our beloved Honcho-in-Chief and that incessant little barking dog down in Venezuela.

The earth-shattering gesture came at the opening ceremony of the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad, where Mr Obama intended to make Cuba a key priority.

The press ran wildly with the story. What's in a handshake with Chavez? What kind of signal was Obama sending? Was this a clear sign of Obama's undying allegiance to Marx's dogma? Was the United States showing weakness in the face of tyranny?

Former Republican Speaker Newt "Galoot" Gingrich was having a shit-fit on "The Today Show": "Everywhere in Latin America, enemies of America are going to use the picture of Chavez smiling and meeting with the president as proof that Chavez is now legitimate, that he's acceptable."

Dick Cheney went on Fox to declare that Obama's encounters with both Chavez and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega were not helpful and "sets the wrong standard." He accused Obama of taking an apologetic tone about past U.S. policy on his trips to Europe and Latin America.

"I think you have to be very careful. The world outside there, both our friends and our foes, will be quick to take advantage of a situation if they think they're dealing with a weak president or one who is not going to stand up and aggressively defend America's interests," Cheney said.

Gents, please! Take your illegally-prescribed chill pills and relax. The world is not going to go to shite because of this. It's getting there, but not aided by some awkward 70s-type pressing of the flesh. And besides, I don't recall any of the top Elephants getting their knickers in a row over this particular encounter back in the day.

Echoing my sentiment, but in a much more civilised and eloquent manner, President Obama defended his show of good faith: "It's unlikely that as a consequence of me shaking hands or having a polite conversation with Mr. Chavez that we are endangering the strategic interests of the United States."


Jeffinseatown said...

Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.

(S)wine said...

...and then of course there is that aspect of the relationship.

Nameless Cynic said...

How can you talk like that? No president has ever shaken hands with anyone except a close ally! It just isn't done!

Politics is about threatening other countries and groping the German Chancellor! How can you not understand that?