Whether to bow or salute?

Do you remember the time President Barack Obama was criticized/ridiculed/condemned for supposedly bowing before Saudi King Abdullah.

I’ve seen the video of that encounter. Critics said the president of the United States shouldn’t humiliate himself by bowing before a foreign head of state.

Now we have Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, returning an awkward salute from a North Korean general. You’ve seen the video, yes? The president walked down a line of dignitaries. He extended his hand. He did so with the general, who then saluted the president; Trump returned the salute.

Can he do that? Should he do that? I mean, North Korea is an “enemy state” that technically is still at war with the United States and the rest of the world. At least we weren’t at war with Saudi Arabia when Barack Obama greeted that country’s monarch.

Still, the Trump salute probably is not as big a deal as many critics might make of it, any more than the Obama bow before the Saudi king denigrated the nation he was elected to lead.

The bigger problem for Trump is the rhetoric he has used to describe Kim Jong Un, the North Korean dictator whose policies should qualify him as deserving of standing trial for crimes against humanity. Trump calls this despot “honorable” and a “great negotiator.”

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