I expect plenty of disagreement, but I’m actually inclined to give Obama somewhat of a modified pass on shaking Raul Castro’s hand at Nelson Mandela’s funeral.
I’m second to no one in the strength of my alarm and disapproval at President Obama’s policies, both domestic and foreign. And I’m well aware of his kowtowing to dictators, as well as his leftism.
But he was in a lose/lose position here. Perhaps with advance planning there was a way for Obama to have avoided being backed into a situation in which he either had to shake Castro’s hand or cause a disruption by theatrically refusing to do so. And perhaps Obama has a secret affinity with someone like Raul and his older brother Fidel. Perhaps Obama even regrets the fact that Che wasn’t there to have his hand shaken, as well.
But as I said, on this score I’m going to give Obama at least a half-pass. To have turned away from Raul on such an occasion would have caused a different sort of commotion, although I actually think it would have been very appropriate.
At least Obama didn’t bow to him.
I’m much more disturbed by Obama’s official policies than by this act of protocol. The latter only takes on its significance because of the problems with the former, as a symbol of what Obama is doing on a larger scale.