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Nobody shakes W’s hand November 22, 2008

Posted by dorigo in internet, news, politics.
Tags: ,

This video is appalling. It shows the members of the G20 summit deliberately ignoring George W Bush as he enters the stage. Handshakes are exchanged between all others, while W does not get to shake any hand, not even that of his very close friend Silvio Berlusconi.

I find it rather annoying. I mean, the poor guy. He is not any different from what he was months ago. This is a shame to all the world leaders, who show their hypocrisy and their double face.


1. futiledemocracy - November 22, 2008

According to CNN, 655,000 innocent people have died as a result of the Iraq invasion. 500 a day.

9/11, CNN reports that 2,752 innocent people died.

Would you be this annoyed if they refused to shake the hand of Osama Bin Laden?

2. Daniel de França MTd2 - November 22, 2008

I thought that it was a metaphore for higgs bosons… lol.

3. Luboš Motl - November 22, 2008

This is just disgusting! Good that at least one left-wing guy agrees with me about that.

Not only Gordon Brown, but apparently also Merkel, Berlusconi, and many others are shameful hypocritical opportunist bitches.

4. dorigo - November 22, 2008

futile, I am annoyed by their double face. That W is a war criminal there is no question at all. I am annoyed that they did shake his hand when he was still powerful.

Oh Daniel, W bosons… I see.

Oh why, Lubos, you seem to like Berlusconi… This must be a disappointment.


5. Luboš Motl - November 22, 2008

This new CNN video:

claims that the only reason why Bush didn’t shake other people’s hands was that he had already done it in the morning, while other pairs couldn’t have done so. I remain unconvinced by it.


6. Daniel de França MTd2 - November 22, 2008

“Oh Daniel, W bosons… I see.”

Sorry, I meant what I had in mind when I read the title, before I read the content.

7. anonymous - November 22, 2008

from here:


“EThere’s this CNN video flying around the Internet from the G20 meeting last weekend that shows President Bush walking on the stage for the “class photo” and no one shaking his hand.

Rick Sanchez, the CNN anchor, said it looked like Bush was snubbed because he’s unpopular and a lot of people on the web have adopted that interpretation.

It’s an example of people seeing what they want to see.

Here’s an alternate explanation. The G20 has a weird protocol where the leader of the host nation doesn’t shake hands while walking on stage for the final photo op with other leaders.

Each of these events is choreographed to the nth degree including where all the leaders stand. Looking at the video, it would also be possible to come to the view that many of the world leaders were feeling weighed down that day since they walked along the stage with their heads bowed.

But what they’re actually doing is looking for their marks which are taped to the carpet on the floor.

Just another example of why what you see is not always what you think you see.

how about thinking for yourself and researching what you post a bit more?

8. dorigo - November 22, 2008

Hi Daniel, yes, I had figured that out…

9. dorigo - November 22, 2008

Anon, it is not what you see… It is what you like to think. CNN has always licked Bush’s ass. And I find the explanation quite implausible. Moreover, Bush is seen to look in the direction of several of his colleagues, when they look away. Merkel for instance, but others too.


10. Luboš Motl - November 22, 2008

Tommaso, I agree with your intuition. There’s an asymmetry between Bush and others in the way they look that suggests that this was not supposed to happen in this way. And Bush looks unhappy, after all.

I think that the most extreme point supporting your theory occurs when he is approaching Gordon Brown. Bush literally looks at Brown for several seconds – which Brown surely had to register. When Bush moves to Merkel, he already reduces the time invested to establish an eye contact with her.

At any rate, there’s no contact and Bush’s optics moves to the floor. To be complete, the guy in front of Bush is also looking at the floor but he did shake his hand with everyone he met on the way.

11. Daniel de França MTd2 - November 22, 2008

The imediate chain reaction for Bush being against bailing out the autos is a heavy pain for most countries, which is a huge politcal concern for the political status of most leaders.

12. anonymous - November 22, 2008

what you say doesn’t make sense since it is CNN that came up with the “snubbing” explanation. Anyway, feel free to continue to see conspiracies everywhere.
For another explanation agreeing with my link above, see


which is a decidedly non- pro bush news source.

13. goffredo - November 22, 2008

Dear TD. If you claim that W is without doubt that is a war criminal then you do not justice to the real ones. And futiledemocracy doesn’t distinguish his mouth from his asshole.

14. Bee - November 22, 2008

Kind of interesting. Leaves me to wonder, if the first guy had offered to shake hands, would the others have too? Otoh, Bush didn’t quite seem to offer his hand to anybody either.

15. island - November 22, 2008

Now you know why I hate politics so much, T. Actually, it’s mostly politics in science that makes me be a hater.

Bee wrote:
Bush didn’t quite seem to offer his hand to anybody either.

That’s because he knows that some who went before him come from countries that don’t use toilet paper… 😉

16. nonhocapito - November 22, 2008

You guys should look at the video more closely. Your understating is numbed by your silly obama mania. It is obviously W who doesn’t shake hands with them leaders and not the other way around. C’mon use your supposedly big brains and don’t just listen to the voice of the speaker here. W probably had his hands dirty or sticky or something, he had his reasons, he was absent-minded or whatever.
How could all the leaders do the same thing all together, do you think they have time to rehearse? be reasonable, this is not some kind of childish school event.

17. Dan Riley - November 22, 2008

Deliberately slighting the US president would be an insult to the office of president and the entire country (doubly so, since we were the host country), not just an insult to Bush. Do you really believe all those world leaders meant to insult the US? I find that pretty implausible, particularly when there were no signs of snubbing him at the several other occasions where Bush shook the hand of every one of the others.

18. Alejandro Rivero - November 22, 2008

“There’s an asymmetry between Bush and others in the way they look that suggests this was not supposed to happen in this way.”

Let me add a further clue: The arrangement (the marks in the floor, as some comment says) has another subtlety: Bush is to be pictured exactly on front of the Spanish president, who previously -three years ago- had been banned of getting a picture with Bush, and for whom the White House protocol desk orquestrated a similar “no handshake” arrangement.

So, either Bush is avoiding handshakes in order to avoid the final handshake with Zapatero, or the rest of the people is giving him a bait of his own recipe. Note that Zapatero puts heir hands in his back explicitly, and he is the only one in this explicit attitude.

Now, agaist (or at least related) to this point, a notice from http://www.thinkspain.com/news-spain/15675/an-historic-handshake tells that Zapatero and Bush did actually handshake in the G-20 dinner. Is it before or after?

19. Alejandro Rivero - November 22, 2008

Hmm let me correct the previous note. The “hanshake ban” was supossed to be terminated in September 2007: http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/280918/0/bush/zapatero/onu/
During this month summit other two “official” handshakes Zapatero-Bush are reported in Spanish press.

20. Alejandro Rivero - November 22, 2008

Ok I think that pictures 19 and 20 here
solve the riddle. As you can see, there was a “scheduled” handshake planned as as a separate picture simultaneusly to the general one. Both Bush and Zapatero avoid another handshake in order to be sure that press journalists are going to use the right one.

21. Gordon - November 22, 2008

The explanations are getting more labyrinthine by the moment.
He was snubbed. I don’t like him, but that behavior is not civilised.
Even if there were a previous photo-op handshake, they should have made the effort again–after all, they did shake with each other. The US was snubbed.

22. Alejandro Rivero - November 22, 2008

Lubos got scent of another video:

The explanation is in the line of #20 above but not restricted to Spain: Bush has done the “handshake pictures” before and they are not providing a second photo-op in the same morning. Still, I note that Zapatero stresses the point, so I still believe that the situation of Spain is special. Note also that Spain was not invited to the G20, there were coming as EU representatives, and in fact France, which was invited separately from the EU, declined to use its flag during the summit.

23. dorigo - November 22, 2008

Jeff, I thought it over, and I have to aknowledge you are right. Bush is not a war criminal, and indeed calling him that way derates the allegation, which is something I do not want to do. Bush is responsible directly for the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians, but he is not a “war criminal”.


24. goffredo - November 22, 2008

Hi Tommaso. Good. Bye Tommaso.

No reaction from that idiot futiledemocracy? Hey are you out there?
Futilebrains should be his name.

25. Yatima - November 23, 2008

Always shake hands with the capo of the nastiest corporatist outfit on the planet which can bomb into a bloody pulp or wreck your economy in the blink of an eye if it thinks it’s good for ideological shoe-shining or shifting money and power to special interest groups.

Come on guys, you have all learned this in the schoolyard, right? Or were you tough enough to hold on to your lunch money?

26. Luboš Motl - November 23, 2008

Alejandro, these are pretty creative theories. And given the importance you assign to your own prime minister, whom I almost haven’t noticed in the video, we could also perhaps argue that your explanations are based on paranoia.

Bush could still shake hands of Ki-moon, Barroso, Merkel, Brown, and others, and avoid Zapatero. Also, I don’t understand why you think that the journalists could confuse a handshake among Zapatero and Bush themselves and one inside a larger group. And even if they confused these two, why you think that it would be such a catastrophe to use the other one.

In scientific sense, these hypotheses are too contrived. I believe that the politicians are only constrained by a few rules – they wouldn’t memorize too many, anyway – and everything else is up to their inner feelings and spontaneity. That’s why your (and other) explanations look unlikely and contrived to me.

Note that the interpretation of this scene is uncorrelated with political orientation. There are conservatives like me who are appalled by the generic leaders’ hypocrisy, which they suspected, anyway. There are socialists like TD who know that the behavior is bad and feel bad conscience about similar politicians’ behavior. Then there are conservatives like Michelle Malkin or #16 nonhocapito who like to preserve the picture that these people generally love Bush, which I don’t quite believe. And then there are liberals such as some at Huffington Post who think it is unacceptable to believe that Bush was snubbed because it would be insulting not only to Bush but even their country and themselves.

Each of the groups has many subgroups with detailed explanations. Only my and Tommaso’s group is based on “What you see is what you get”.

27. Luboš Motl - November 23, 2008

Oh, I forgot the fifth group, the “progressives” who believe what they see and who are extremely happy about it because their hatred against Bush (and/or the US) overshadows all of their other moral values and standards. Some of them may leave this blog, which is something that would make Tommaso’s life fresher and cleaner and I wish him it will materialize.

28. Alejandro Rivero - November 23, 2008

Lubos, I agree that my interpretation is risky. But note that it agrees partly with the official version “there was not handshake because a separate handshake had happened the same morning”. Also I note that Zapatero is very fast putting the hands in the back after a handshake with the guy before Bush, and this move is way compatible with the hypothesis of previous planning. I think we agree that it is likely that the “no handshake” scene was planned, do we? If so, we can suppose that the White House protocol planners had knowledge of it and had agreed to it. The only question is the motivation. I have provided a particular one (the Spanish conflict, dating from Azores). But I could be perfectly happy with other explanations; for instance perhaps they preferred the individual pictures (as seen in the video you provided) of handshaking because they happened “at level”, while in the joint picture they were “from down to up”, with Bush at a lower level than the leaders he should be greeting.

29. Andrea Giammanco - November 23, 2008

Even before reading the comments, my first thought was that it is almost certainly a matter of protocol.
It is way too explicit to be possible. Probably some of them had already shaken their hands before, and others were meeting for the first time that day.
If Bush was the host (indeed, the meeting was in Washington) it is realistic that he had already shaken hands with all of the others just as soon as they arrived.

30. island - November 23, 2008

We all know that in all matters of mere opinion that man is insane… just as insane as we are… we know exactly where to put our finger upon his insanity:

It is where his opinion differs from ours….

All Democrats are insane, but not one of them knows it. None but the Republicans.

All the Republicans are insane, but only the Democrats can perceive it.

The rule is perfect: In all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.
-Mark Twain

31. Ptrslv72 - November 24, 2008

I agree with the posters who pointed out that these events are too strictly choreographed for a snub as blatant as the one implied by CNN to occur. And involving ALL the participants??? It’s just a matter of common sense… Come on, only on a rainy weekend could so many people waste so much time and bytes on such a non-event. Cheers,

32. Andrea Giammanco - November 24, 2008

By the way, as a matter of fact any head of state is always very respectful of any other official representative, in official occasion, even if he is a representative of the Republic of San Marino, with no correlation at all with the power of the country nor of the individual.
How can you believe that somebody can be blatantly disrespectful of the head of state of the USA, even if he is going to be replaced in a couple of months? Lacking respect to another head of state is not going to make you a friend with his successor: most probably, his successor would feel offended because it is a lack of respect towards his country, in the first place. I think that maybe only in the days before a declaration of war you can see something like that (and maybe not even in that occasion). And as far as I know the european countries are not going to invade America…

33. island - November 24, 2008

And I just have to blurt out… Lumo, you willfully ignore the directly observed cosmological reality all day long every day, so don’t even pretend to be a strict empiricist like Dorigo is, because you live in fantasyLand for most of your life as far as I’m concerned, whereas Tommaso’s uncanny intuition comes from deep experience in the trenches.

So there!… 😉

34. changcho - November 25, 2008

“Bush is responsible directly for the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians, but he is not a “war criminal”.

Ok Tommaso, if he is not a war criminal, then in your opinion what would be an appropriate qualifier ?


[…] Bush dunque se ne va e lascia il posto a Obama, che stimolerà la ricerca sulle cellule staminali anche embrionali, eliminando il bando sul finanziamento federale che il suo predecessore aveva approvato nel 2001! Quel Bush che questo fine settimana è stato vittima (o complice?) di un balletto assolutamente patetico in cui tutti fanno finta di ignorarlo, e di non stringergli la mano. Scusate l’off-topic, ma ne parla anche Dorigo sul suo Blog […]

36. dorigo - November 25, 2008

Changcho, they have to invent a new word for people like him. While he is definitely on the same league with Hitler, Stalin, and a few other sorry individuals- at least if we do a body count- we cannot compare him to them, because he -like it or not- interpreted the feeling of at least a part of a big country. He is not a tyrant, so while he, along with his cabinet, is directly responsible (he could have decided otherwise), he shares some of the burden with others. It is this which really bothers the american people, in a sense: those who elected, his congressmen, are also responsible.


37. goffredo - November 25, 2008

You incredibly wrote “he [Bush] is definitely on the same league with Hitler, Stalin, and a few other sorry individuals- at least if we do a body count-…”

That it it! Conclusion: your are completely out of your mind and sentences like this make your positions complete trash, just to be nice! A human can be quite rational when it comes to muons, fakes, signals and backgrounds but a complete jerk and potentially dangerous when to comes to other things. Tommaso Dorigo exemplifies the scientist and physicsist that should not be listened to out side the very strict confines of their technical expertise. WARNING and he is painfully typical. By throwing his/their credibility out the window in such STUPID he/they digs/dig his/their own tomb(s) and condemn/condemn himself/theirselves to uselessness. There is no rational reason and no evidence what so ever to believe that Tommaso Dorigo is wise, unbiased, knowledable, experienced.
Tommaso is foolish, biased, ignorant and completely out of touch with reality.

I step back and let Tommaso defecate as much as he wishes on political and sociological issues. I do hope that someone out there in blog space will not let him get away with it. I’ve had it. I will continue to read his HEP posts though. Those are good.

38. Andrea Giammanco - November 25, 2008

> he is definitely on the same league with Hitler, Stalin, and a few other sorry individuals

Ahah this thread is a fantastic demonstration of Godwin’s law:

“there is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically “lost” whatever debate was in progress.”

39. chris - November 25, 2008

gosh, and i thought for a moment you were talking about the W boson 🙂

40. changcho - November 25, 2008

Hi Tommaso, sorry about goffredo spewing his fury at you regarding this w character. Yes, we need a new qualifier for bush; I don’t think he’s quite in the same level as stalin or hitler, I think his body-count is about an order of magnitude smaller. It is is also true that he is not a tyrant, as he (unfortunately, and to the embarrassment of the US – it will be remembered as a very ominous chapter in future US history books) had/has the support of a significant fraction of the US population.

How about calling him a little-war-criminal? “Little” (piccolo??) is a very appropriate word for w (no, not the boson).

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