President Obama is a courteous man. But all Washington seems to be comparing the respect he showed to the  Saudi King with that shown  to his host the constitutional monarch, Queen Elizabeth II who is the Sovereign of the United States’ closest allies, the  United Kingdom, Canada and Australia and Head of the Commonwealth.  You be the judge. Just look at the video on the site.

 

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“Such an act is a traditional obeisance befitting a king's subjects, not his peer,” said the Washington Times in an editorial. “There is no precedent for U.S. presidents bowing to Saudi or any other royals,” reported CNS News.
 
On Wednesday, a White House official told Politico.com that Mr. Obama did not bow to the king: “He grasped with two hands, and he’s taller than King Abdullah,” Politico quoted the official as saying.
 
On “Fox & Friends” Friday morning, Geraldo Rivera offered the opinion that Mr. Obama’s bow was the reflexive instinct of someone raised in the Muslim tradition – “a sign of affection and respect” from a younger man to an older man. 

There was a time when some Americans were ostentatious in their refusal to bow. This could conflict wiht protocol which once required that a visiting head of state  bow to the host head of state.

On Royal Visits the former Australian Prime Minister Mr.Keating did not bow to The Queen nor did Mrs. Keating curtesy.  Neither is required.  It  has however been reported that Mr. Keating did bow to a foreign dictator.

On the two recent occasions when he was received by The Queen, the present Prime Minister Mr Rudd seemed to give a neck bow.  He spoiled this courteous gesture by declaring to the British media before the audience that Australia would become a republic, something which he must know is not in any prime minister's gift.