Monday, August 20, 2012

Body Language In International Diplomacy.

The Picture above shows Hussein Tantawi, Head of the Egyptian Military Higher Council, welcoming Hilary Clinton, Secretary of State of the United States of America, in Cairo Egypt.

Hilary Clinton, Secretary of State of the United States of America had made a diplomatic visit to Cairo, Egypt, just recently. She met first with Muhammad Mursy, the newly-elected President of Egypt and later on she met with Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, Head of the Egyptian Military Higher Council.

The Jordanian newspaper daily, Alarab Alyawm, has published the picture shown above, as Tantawi and Clinton were shaking hands. It is so obvious that the hand of Mrs. Clinton was holding the hand of Tantawi so strongly, while her eyes wide-opened and looking straight at Tantawi 's face, while Tantawi's face had a shy smile and his eyes were looking, somehow, down,not straight into the eyes of  Clinton. Please see the picture shown above.

It seems to me that Clinton was trying to tell Tantawi that by the strong hand-shake and looking straight into his eyes, the following unspoken diplomatic gestures: you might be the highest commander of the whole Egyptian military, but I, Hilary Clinton, represent the government of the United States of America that was / is showering your military with annual military aid. The body language in this case had said it all, and no words were necessary to be said by Clinton to Tantawi to get the meaning of her body language. By the same token, Tantawi's shy smile and gesture of obvious humility was telling Clinton that I got the hint and you are most welcome, Mrs. Secretary.

The whole Clinton-Tantawi 's encounter in body language has reminded me of the superb body language of the late King Hussein of Jordan. He was a master when it came to body language in international diplomacy. During my stay in Amman, Jordan, managing a technical business operations in the whole Middle East and part of North Africa, for an American multi-national corporation, in the 1970's and 1980's, I saw countless times the late King Hussein on the Jordanian television receiving visitors at his Raghadan palace in Amman. He always sat at the very edge of a big comfortable chair with his both hands in his lap. That was to show utmost respect to his visitors whoever they might have been: Heads of State, Prime Ministers, military Generals etc...I had never seen him moving his hands, while talking with his visitors. I had never seen him sitting on his comfortable royal chair crossed legged, or in any other manner except sitting always at the very edge of it and his both hands in his lap.

While mentioning the late King Hussein's body language, it may be of interest to describe his body language, as he received King and Queen of Spain at Amman Airport: He received them at the bottom of their airplane's stair. He had shaken the hand of the King of Spain as normally as could be, but as the Queen of Spain stepped forward, King Hussein bend his head down as he held her hand for the usual hand shake and kissed the Queen's hand. It was a touching sight in a profound way. I thought it was beautiful to see on Television the late King Hussein of Jordan kissing the hand of  a visiting Queen. I had made a point, that day, of  watching the news at 8:00 p.m. on the Jordanian Television, in order to see again King Hussein kissing the hand of Queen of Spain. I was so disappointed as the Jordanian Television omitted that part of the royal reception at Amman's Airport, due to protestations raised by certain groups of Jordanian citizens who did not like to see their king kissing the hand of a visiting queen. Most unfortunate !!

One might have some disagreements with the policies of the late King Hussein of Jordan, but one could not refrain from admiring the body language he mustered in receiving his visitors and guests-most outstanding in human conduct,characterized with splendid royal humility, rarely matched, indeed

Another well known world figure who knew how to win the profound admiration of people, and probably their votes as well, was President Dwight Eisenhower who was the President of the United States of America for two terms in the 1950's. His genuine and admirable smile could disarm voters, Heads of State alike.

In short, the body language in international diplomacy can have a profound effect, if used appropriately in the right time and place and circumstances.     



Sunday, August 19, 2012

Eid Al-Fitr.

I wish all my Muslim friends and readers of this Website A Very Happy Eid Al-Fitr,full of joy and celebrations across the Islamic World.

May the future be kinder to all Muslims and the rest of the human race, And may the future bring genuine understanding and tolerance among all religions of the world.