Latest Faux Freakout: Obama Shook Hands With Castro!

I find myself just shaking my head on a daily basis at the things the wingnuts choose to freak out over. The latest thing that has them cracking up the faux outrage machine: President Obama shook hands with Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela’s future! A world leader shaking hands with another world leader? Shocking. Just shocking. Right wing blogger Allahpundit phoned it in:

If that was his line on Chavez, and if he was willing to make phone chitchat this year with the leader of a regime whose motto is “Death to America,” go figure that he’s willing to press the flesh with a Cold War dinosaur who’s recently taken the babiest of baby steps towards liberalization…

If he can get something for the U.S. from it, he’s not going to let moral objections to how a regime treats its own people, let alone people abroad, bar diplomacy.

By the way, he also shook hands with Dilma Rousseff of Brazil and Robert Mugabe. Now’s your chance, Rouhani! The man can’t say no.

Fox News and several Republican legislators wailed and gnashed their teeth:

“It is nauseating,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who fled Cuba with her family when she was a child, told Fox News.

Speaking later at a hearing with Secretary of State John Kerry, the congresswoman held up photos of the handshake and said political dissidents would be “disheartened” by them.

“Sometimes a handshake is just a handshake, but when the leader of the free world shakes the bloody hand of a ruthless dictator like Raul Castro, it becomes a propaganda coup for the tyrant,” she said.

And Rubio too:

The Florida Republican and son of Cuban immigrants said, “If the president was going to shake his hand, he should have asked him about those basic freedoms Mandela was associated with that are denied in Cuba,” The Hill reports.

“It remains clear that Cuba is the same totalitarian state today that it has been for decades. This totalitarian state continues to have close ties to terrorist organizations.”

This is just fucking stupid. American presidents have shaken hands with, negotiated with, held hands with, taken meetings with and otherwise associated with a virtual murderer’s row of dictators and tyrants. Saudi Arabia is every bit as totalitarian as Cuba (considerably worse, actually), but I don’t recall hearing these people flip out over George W. Bush when he took regular meetings with the Saudi royal family and held hands with them. To be fair, though, Bush isn’t black.

President Eisenhower met with and embraced Franco and Kruschev. Nixon met with and shook hands with Leonid Brezhnev and Chairman Mao. Henry Kissinger not only shook hands with Gen. Pinochet of Chile, he helped put the brutal thug in power. The first President Bush helped put Noriega in power and sat on a couch with his arm around him (he later sent in troops to remove Noriega from power when he proved less than compliant with our orders). World leaders embrace other world leaders at such events, regardless of what kind of people they might be. It’s the protocol. Get the fuck over it.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • colnago80

    Spelling Nazi here, hey, how about spelling Khrushchev’s name correctly.

  • colnago80

    Let’s not forget that both Truman and Roosevelt shook hands with Stalin.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    No, this isn’t the latest freakout. You’re too slow on these things Ed.

    The latest would be Obama yukking it up with the Danish PM, which based on over-interpretation of two still photos and a misunderstanding of how South Africans do funerals, clearly shows that he tried to fuck her right then and there in full view of his wife.

  • chilidog99

    Ed, Nelson Mandela does not have a future.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    Let me point out that the examples Ed gives (Rumsfeld and Saddam, bff, should be added in there) are occasions when our leaders were negotiating with or deliberately attempting friendship gestures with said tyrants. What Obama did was a perfunctory and meaningless greeting at a state funeral. Not even in the same category.

  • http://aceofsevens.wordpress.com Ace of Sevens

    Obama should have done the gimme five/too slow thing to shows his disapproval.

  • weaver

    When Churchill was asked why he always used an honorific when referring to his arch-enemy, usually calling him “Herr Hitler”, Churchill replied “When you have to kill a man, it costs nothing to be polite.”

    Obama doesn’t have to kill any of the Castros – so a handshake is not at all inappropriate politeness from one national leader to another.

    More fake outrage from the machine that lives on it.

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    And there is also a freakout because Obama “bowed to Castro”

    The bow is mostly portrayed using a screen shot of this video at about 12 seconds.

    http://youtu.be/2jcTO4m35qU

  • logicgrrl

    Yeah, the fact that Obama is like 6 inches taller than Castro had nothing to do with it!

  • tmscott

    I think that David Horsey, cartoonist for the LA Times covered it well:

    http://www.trbimg.com/img-52aa6067/turbine/la-na-tt-handshake-with-castro-20131212-001/600

  • Nick Gotts

    By the way, he also shook hands with Dilma Rousseff of Brazil

    I’m shocked that Dilma Rousseff was willing to shake hands with Obama, who’s been snooping on her private phone calls.

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    Sorry Ed. People are right to be outraged that Obama shook Castro’s hand, what with everything that Cuba has done to America.

  • mobius

    War is regarded as nothing but the continuation of state policy with other means.

    –Carl von Clausewitz

    Right wingnuts don’t accept Clauswitz. They think war is the ONLY state policy.

  • mobius

    @sigurd jorsalfar

    Sorry Ed. People are right to be outraged that Obama shook Castro’s hand, what with everything that Cuba has done to America.

    Just to inquire, exactly what has Cuba done to America?

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    @mobius, I don’t like using the snark tag. Maybe next time.

  • http://howlandbolton.com richardelguru

    @mobius, I think the phrase that Siggy is looking so desperately for is “Nothin’ much”

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Area Man “What Obama did was a perfunctory and meaningless greeting at a state funeral. Not even in the same category.”

    EXACTLY! ITS WORSE! NOT ONLY IS OBAMA SHAKING HANDS WITH AMERICAS ENEMIES, BUT OBAMA IS TOO ALOOF TO GIVE THOROUGH AND MEANINGFUL GREETINGS TO THEM!

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    Sorry about the video embed above. I didn’t try to embed. Just copied and pasted the address from the bar.

  • marcus

    chilidog99 @ 4

    Ed: Spell-check I’m tired of your shirt!

  • dan4

    “Not even in the same category.”

    So are you saying Obama’s handshake with Castro was better or worse than past POTUSES engaging in negotiations and friendship gestures with tyrants? Your comment is vague enough that it could be read either way (well, to me, anyway).

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    Your comment is vague enough that it could be read either way

    No.

  • http://www.facebook.com/KacyRay kacyray

    Good post Ed. You’re right on target.

  • http://www.facebook.com/KacyRay kacyray

    I think the handshake was an acknowledgement. Nothing more. The right-wing outrage machine will do anything it can to inflate this into mass hysteria.

  • Ichthyic

    President Obama shook hands with Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela’s future!

    freudian slip?