A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Historical Note on Handshakes

The commentariat have been churning over President Obama's quick and not overly warm handshake with an 82-year-old Latin strongman who, more than 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, would merit no attention if his name weren't Raul Castro. It's not a Middle East issue as such, but our region has a history of awkward handshakes, as I've noted before. There was the painful Giraud-de Gaulle handshake at Casablanca in 1943, where you can imagine FDR and Churchill holding figurative guns to their heads:
Then there was Arafat and Rabin, where only Bill Clinton looks relaxed:

Or when Obama met Qadhafi in 2009 in Italy, two years before he bombed him out of office and helped his people put an end to him:

But for those who see Obama and Raul as proof positive of Obama's radicalism, please chew on this one for a while:

For the young ones among you, that is Fidel Castro and Richard Nixon.

Enough said.

1 comment:

David Mack said...

Let's not forget the memorable hand shake between Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein in March 1984, shown here by The National Security Archive: