Suha Arafat delivered a sharply-worded speech falsely accusingIsraelshould be careful not to repeat a mistake made by Hillary Clinton during a 1999 visit to the . When Palestinian
of using poisonous gas on Palestinians and distributing chemical
materials to ruin the water, Mrs. Clinton silently gave Mrs. Arafat a
hug and a kiss at the end of the lecture. The First Lady’s politeness
was taken as substantive agreement with Arafat’s inflammatory charges.
The president’s wife also needs to respect local protocol. The British press had a field day during a 2009 visit toQueen Elizabeth‘s back, and thereby violated long-standing rules forbidding body contact. For days thereafter, the was subjected to critical media attention questioning her personal judgment and lack of social awareness.when Mrs. Obama touched
Above all else, First Ladies should heed the awkward mistake made by during his 1979 visit toMexico. As an offended Mexican President Jose Lopez Portillo looked on, Carter joked that he had been “afflicted with “.
This reference to the travel-related illness named after the Aztec
emperor who was murdered by Spanish invaders so upset his Mexican hosts
that it scuttled a planned agreement. When using humor on foreign trips, it always is better to make fun of oneself than local hosts.
But if only she’d give Angela Merkel an uninvited back rub, or walk out the wrong door, or, you know, BLOW UP ANOTHER COUNTRY UNDER FALSE PRETENSES, then everything would be fine.