Biden’s ridiculous fist-bump policy in the Middle East
President Biden’s decision to go to Saudi Arabia has become a major controversy – especially among those on the radical left. He is engaging with two nations they hate most –Israel and Saudi Arabia. Of the many critical national issues at stake, the one that grabbed the headlines on day-one was … the fist-bump – that Covid era relic from the days when handshakes were considered deadly.
According to the Director of Bulls%&t at the White House, Biden was advised to use the fist-bump when visiting the Middle East. So, there he was fist-bumping the folks in the receiving line at the airport. As he moved around, Biden occasionally forgot and did the traditional handshake. (Perhaps he did not have one of those note cards to constantly remind him – “YOU should use fist-bump, not handshake.”)
(Personally, I would have given him a note reminding him to take off his sunglasses. They make him look like a character from a “Godfather” sequel. But that is just me.)
But why the fist-bump?
It obviously has nothing to do with Covid. There is not a lot of Covid going around in Israel – and if there was, Biden would be wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. Hell … he would not even be there.
He does the fist-bump and then talks face-to-face within inches, touches others, and even hugs. If we followed real Covid rules, Biden would have to self-isolate for seven days. It was reported that on the previous day, Biden shook hands with some 500 people. Really? That may be an exaggerated number, but he did shake a lot of hands.
In the absence of any alternative rational reason for the sudden fist-bump diplomacy, many suggest (including me) that it all has to do with the meeting with the Crown Prince in Saudi Arabia – the man allegedly responsible for the murder of Washington Post reporter Adnan Khashoggi, and who Biden referred to as a pariah. The Crown Prince, not Kashoggi.
It would be hard to find a meeting between two heads-of-state – even adversaries – that will be as observed and as uncomfortable as the face-to-face exchange between Biden and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
You can bet that the nature of that meeting will be by mutual private agreement orchestrated by the diplomates and advance teams. I am thinking that there may be no handshake or fist-bump. In fact, I would not be surprised if the first confrontation took place in one of those private, off-the-record meetings.
There will be intense public interest in what Biden will say to the Crown Prince. Of course, whatever is said, we will only get the White House preferred version. They will put a positive spin on it. But the fact remains that this meeting is a huge embarrassment to Biden and the United States. It is a win-win for the Saudis, including the Crown Prince.
While Biden may be fist-bumping the Crown Prince, the Crown Prince will be pounding Biden into the ground like a tent peg on the world stage. All the imagery and power rests with MBS. What the world will see is an American President — politically enfeebled by his own policies – begging for concessions from a person and a nation he promised to punish. No amount of spin is going to alter that reality.
So, there ‘tis.