Where cowboys shudder

May George W. Holding hands with Abdullah?

"Why do they hate us?" No other question so preoccupied the American public after the World Trade Center attacks as this one. The government tried by all means to get to the bottom of it. Sent hundreds of thousands of peace researchers to those countries where they tried to get to the root of the hatred, invested millions of dollars in "public diplomacy", to improve the image and failed so far. Neither the "Enduring Freedom"-Mission, nor the "Iraqi Liberation"-Mission, nor al-Hurra brought the decisive turnaround. The popularity of the Americans, especially their government, among the Arab population is still poor, as poll results have shown for several years now. Now the boss has taken matters into his own hands.

The mission, the terror and the love of the next: George W. Bush takes the matter seriously. And stays cool. A certain becoming is not to be denied to him, even if his compatriots often want to see it differently

It’s often said of Robert de Niro that no matter who he plays, whether a weeping mobster or a family man in a hobby basement, his characters always exude were. The same can now be said of the American president. He had several lately "major performances" and has brought them over the stage in a way that is hard to beat for coolness. At the late pope’s funeral ceremony, no one mastered the complicated Catholic emotional act between pious devotion and simultaneous distraction by the grandeur of the theatrical surroundings as well as George W. Bush. His face documented emotion and at the same time curiosity for the Roman sky, the coffin and the crowd in St. Peter’s Square.

And then the appearance the day before yesterday: the president, with a slightly embarrassed expression, but unwaveringly holding the hand of a tyrant from the Orient. And yesterday he showed his compatriots, who have not cared about the colors for a long time (cf. Orange Alert) grief, which indicates their country’s terror threat status, how seriously he takes even innocuous warnings and holed up in his bunker after radar reported a flock of birds over the White House. According to informed circles, the president hoards on his iPod songs by musicians who hate him, they are even said to be his favorite songs (cf. "Show me your ipod – and I’ll tell you what kind of person you are!"). How cool is that?

Where cowboys shudder

However, one knows it long ago, the USA are divided into two rough camps. Not everyone found the act with 81-year-old Abdullah from Saudi Arabia "appropriate". Official America does not go easy on physical displays of affection: Can the leader of the free world hold hands with the evil dictator, from whose empire 15 of the 19 assassins of 11/11 came?.September, which finances Islamists around the world, walk around in parks – like a "fucking turtledove"? wonders, for example, a blogger for the American magazine "Reason".

The late-night comedian Jay Leno performed the walk of the unequal couple in slow motion and provided musical accompaniment to the clip "Up Where We Belong". Reactions from the conservative heartland of the United States have yet to come, but the neocon New York Post has already summed up the presumed trend in a catchy phrase:

Cowboys all across the Lone Star state must be shuddering

The blogosphere, on the other hand, has had to be more enlightened and progressive. Of course, there is a considerable amount of condemnable homophobia in all the mockery of the hand-holding head of state, but a few paragraphs further on, a crude "But" to make a statue of itself:

I don’t give much of a damn about Saudi traditions. If it is the custom for heads of state there to liquefy food and smoke hookahs, and we decide to adapt as guests, I don’t care. But should our president dictate the customs when he travels to Saudi Arabia as a guest?? Such as shaking hands with unveiled women and chatting with them in public? To dance? And I wonder what effect these lovebird images actually have on jihad sympathizers in the Arab world. Oh, no wait, I don’t wonder about that.

Justin Logan, member of the Cato Institute

Naturally also the obvious pragmatic reasons are mentioned, for which number 43 put his hand into the fire, furs ol naturlich. This was not a handshake, a caller to CNN is quoted as saying, the president squeezed the hand of the crown prince to print the oil price. Or maybe it was after all hindsight and cool, responsive presence of mind that made it possible for the sporty George W. made it possible to save the decrepit Abdullah from falling down. Cool effort in any case, carry on!

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