The Ugly American Abroad

From Holden:

The story of a preznit who learns that he’s not “all that” outside of the U.S.

President Bush’s visit to Chile ended on a bizarre note here this evening when the Chilean government disinvited more than 200 guests to a dinner with the president rather than let the Secret Service screen them for weapons on their way into the presidential palace.


The first sign of social misunderstanding between the United States and Chile came Saturday night, when Chilean security agents initially prevented Mr. Bush’s lead agent from following him into a dinner for heads of state attending the conference. When Mr. Bush noticed the commotion, he walked back outside, reached into a group of scuffling guards, grabbed his lead agent by the suit and pulled him out of the melee. Mr. Bush then shook his head, as if in disbelief, and escorted the agent into the dinner.

In a videotape of the incident, which played over and over throughout the region on Sunday, it appears as if Chilean security officials tried to restrain Mr. Bush before they recognized him – perhaps thinking he was another member of the Secret Service detail. One of Mr. Bush’s aides said that the president had been alerted before the incident that there was some disagreement with the Chileans about whether the detail would be allowed to enter the dinner.

Bush, center, dives into a crowd of scuffling Secret Service agents and Chilean policemen to retrieve his security blanket. Sorry, no image of the disgusted head-shake by the self-important fratboy.

Mr. Bush received what appeared to be a cool reception here. No crowds were on the streets to greet him as his motorcade sped through the city to the presidential palace late this afternoon, only small clutches of protesters.

A Chilean reporter reminded Mr. Bush at the news conference that Mr. Lagos had opposed the Iraq war, and he then asked the president, “Who was right and who was wrong?” Mr. Bush offered a defense of his action, but only after saying: “President Lagos didn’t agree with my decision, and I respect that. He’s still my friend.”