Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Bow of The Future

I was struck by the image of our President, Barack Obama, bowing to the Japanese Emperor during a recent visit to Japan. It was strange to see the most powerful man in the world show such an extreme gesture.

President Barack Obama bows while being greeted by Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, Source: AP via Politico.com

At first, I wasn't happy about this prominent sign of potential weakness. Should our President ever bow to anyone? Does this weaken America's position in the world in some way? But as I kept looking at the exquisitely expressive image I realized that weakness was nowhere to be seen. Quite the opposite - Obama's sign of deference gives him instant credibility. It shows careful planning, a deep understanding of Japanese culture, and a knowledge of history. Most importantly, this humbling act clearly won the respect of both the Emperor and Empress.

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