President Barack Obama’s bow to Japan’s Emperor Akihito was deeply insulting to the American people he was elected to represent. Sadly, it came as no surprise. For the past nine months, Obama has traveled around the world apologizing for America’s alleged multitude of past sins and errors.
These mea culpas have been delivered to nations ruled by corrupt authoritarians (Egypt), terrorist-supporting monarchs (Saudi Arabia) and virulently anti-Semitic despots (Iran), among so many others. He has even apologized to countries in Europe that might not exist in anything remotely like their current form were it not for the repeated shedding of American blood on their soil.
So seeing Obama obsequiously bowing and scraping to the head of state of the nation that launched the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor doesn’t exactly come as a shock. But it’s no less egregious for not being unexpected. It simply ought not be necessary to instruct an American chief executive — even one so inexperienced in foreign affairs as Obama was when he took the oath of office — that we do not bow to foreign monarchs. We declared our independence from a monarch.
As Thomas Paine put it, “In America, the law is king.” And the law is made by representatives chosen by the true sovereign, the people. A bow is far more than a diplomatic expression of respect. It’s a sign of submission and acceptance of the authority of the monarch. For an American president to make such a gesture rightfully has sparked outrage across the country.
Recognizing that Obama’s bow was inappropriate, most of the Japanese news media used images of the president’s more formal nod to the empress. Japan has depended on the U.S. nuclear umbrella for decades and has looked to this nation for strong, steady leadership in a dangerous world. As a result, the Japanese have been able to redirect precious resources that would otherwise have gone to its defense against threats from the Soviet Union, North Korea and China into the pursuit of peace and economic stability. They understand — apparently better than some of our own leaders here at home — that a weakened America creates immense problems for them.
So stop the bowing and apologizing, Mr. President. We elected you to stand up for us, not to make apologies for us or to demean the accomplishments and sacrifices of our ancestors.