Thing is, I’m not sure that Obama (or the other world leaders) took the gesture the same way. Obama doesn’t strike as the type to submit to anybody or anything (certainly not the constitution). My entire life, I grew up thinking that the Japanese bow to each other in the same way that we “shake hands” in our culture. To adopt some of the protocol of another is to show a sign of respect. Do the Japanese back home question their leaders’ patriotism when they see them shaking hands with western leaders?
I have no idea what the whole Saudi King thing was about, but I’m not going to pass judgment. If we are to judge every action by the standards of our own narrow culture, what are we to make of George W. Bush holding hands with the Saudi King?
Gestures can be easily misunderstood. I wouldn’t read too much into them.