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(3,245 posts)
Fri Sep 6, 2013, 12:40 AM Sep 2013

A dominant Obama meets Putin at G20

Putin knows when he is in the presence of a real world leader.

President Barack Obama was intent on getting the upper hand as he greeted Russia's Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit on Thursday, according to body language experts who watched the frosty exchange.

From a jacket-buttoning pause to a hard-pumping handshake, Obama displayed tell-tale signs of dominance after he alit from a limo in front of St. Petersburg's Konstantin Palace, where Putin waited to meet him, communication experts said.


Patti Wood, author of "Success Signals: Body Language in Business," made a similar analogy.

"It was very odd. Obama is treating him like he was greeting a doorman," she said.

She noted the significance Obama buttoning his suit jacket after exiting the limo.

"That’s another way men show power," she said. "It says, 'I know the attention is on me' and it’s a little bit rude to do that. It's grabbing the power for yourself."

Tonya Reiman, who has written three books on body language, said Obama extended his hand at least two seconds before Putin did.

"This is a show of power," she said. "In addition, he leans in toward Putin with his upper body, placing himself slightly into Putin's personal zone. Notice Putin pulls back ever so slightly, which indicates that Obama has the upper hand."

During the handshake, they pumped up and down 18 times, said Joseph Tecce, a psychology professor and body-language scholar at Boston College.

"The handshake is very tense. The 18 may have been an attempt for either one to show dominance, to say, 'Don't fuss with me," he said. "Or they are saying, 'Look, we are shaking hands, we're good — an attempt to establish what is not real."

Wood said Obama grasped Putin's hand from underneath so he could bring it up to him.

"That says, 'I’m in charge here. I’m going to run the show," she said.

"Putin is intimidated by Obama, Obama is not intimidated by Putin," Tecce said.

When the encounter was over, Putin remained standing outside the palace as Obama walked inside.

Reiman noticed that before Obama strode off, he raised up his arm, which she labeled a sign of dominance. "Putin looks down — another sign of submissive behavior," she said.

32 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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A dominant Obama meets Putin at G20 (Original Post) mwrguy Sep 2013 OP
In related news, fans are still angry about the casting choices for the "50 Shades" movie Scootaloo Sep 2013 #1
Shouldn't the casting be exclusive to the world's political elite? delrem Sep 2013 #8
Sigh. dkf Sep 2013 #2
oh please !! come up with better stuff than this. delrem Sep 2013 #3
Oh dear, how embarrassing LittleBlue Sep 2013 #4
Damn, I didn't know Putin was that short. joshcryer Sep 2013 #5
Most people know how "short" Putin is. delrem Sep 2013 #7
I honestly didn't know. joshcryer Sep 2013 #9
I don't think he looks "massive, like a giant", in his shirtless photo-op. delrem Sep 2013 #12
I didn't say it had anything to do with political power. joshcryer Sep 2013 #13
At least you came to the conclusion that he's "short". One positive outcome, however fucked up. delrem Sep 2013 #14
I'm going mainstream. joshcryer Sep 2013 #15
I call BS... awoke_in_2003 Sep 2013 #6
the shake Jesus Malverde Sep 2013 #10
Sceptical customer and used car salesman. Celefin Sep 2013 #32
God, how gross. Marr Sep 2013 #11
Don't know how much credence to put in your article, but Ambassador Wilson once said of Saddam.... Hekate Sep 2013 #16
Reminds me of the time the Israeli's humiliated the Turks with a short couch. Jesus Malverde Sep 2013 #18
It's like the CEO in his throne-like chair and massive desk, with the other in a shorter chair Hekate Sep 2013 #19
Well... ocpagu Sep 2013 #17
~~*~~ Hekate Sep 2013 #20
This place has gone full ODS...nt SidDithers Sep 2013 #22
Yes it has. cliffordu Sep 2013 #23
Most of the world respects Obama a lot more than Putin according to polling stevenleser Sep 2013 #25
really? you respect putin more than obama? really? madrchsod Sep 2013 #29
As a somatic psychologist TM99 Sep 2013 #21
+Infinity! - nt HardTimes99 Sep 2013 #27
My thoughts exactly. SwissTony Sep 2013 #28
More infantile spin. nt bemildred Sep 2013 #24
They're both complicated men. Both have visions for their own countries, like it or not. freshwest Sep 2013 #26
Obama is no ones fool madokie Sep 2013 #30
Really? WilliamPitt Sep 2013 #31


(9,688 posts)
3. oh please !! come up with better stuff than this.
Fri Sep 6, 2013, 12:54 AM
Sep 2013

Either that, or put them in a boxing ring to fight it out.

Otherwise, STFU


(9,688 posts)
7. Most people know how "short" Putin is.
Fri Sep 6, 2013, 01:23 AM
Sep 2013

That has nothing to do with his power, of course.
Just speaking as a "long" person, "short" persons do astounding things -- but not so much in basketball.


(62,259 posts)
9. I honestly didn't know.
Fri Sep 6, 2013, 01:29 AM
Sep 2013

I never saw him next to someone that contrasted his shortness.

Looking at the famous horse riding picture (where he's shirtless) he looks massive, like a giant.

And, naturally, it doesn't have anything to do with his power.

Apparently he was bullied as a child and the CIA released a profile (probably purposely) to try to make him look weak.


(9,688 posts)
12. I don't think he looks "massive, like a giant", in his shirtless photo-op.
Fri Sep 6, 2013, 01:33 AM
Sep 2013

He looks like a fit man riding a horse, pure and simple. It has nothing whatever to do with his political power.


(62,259 posts)
13. I didn't say it had anything to do with political power.
Fri Sep 6, 2013, 01:47 AM
Sep 2013

I normally don't pay attention to these things which is why I never even realized he was short.


(9,688 posts)
14. At least you came to the conclusion that he's "short". One positive outcome, however fucked up.
Fri Sep 6, 2013, 01:53 AM
Sep 2013

You can agree with many people about that, joshcryer. That should give you a feeling of camaraderie.


(62,259 posts)
15. I'm going mainstream.
Fri Sep 6, 2013, 01:58 AM
Sep 2013

Now if only others would agree with me that Putin is a dictator loving right wing ultra nationalist oligarch...



(34,582 posts)
6. I call BS...
Fri Sep 6, 2013, 01:14 AM
Sep 2013

every time I have seen him stand up with a jacket on he has buttoned it. Had he not, they would claim he was being too informal.



(20,317 posts)
11. God, how gross.
Fri Sep 6, 2013, 01:33 AM
Sep 2013

How servile and empty must you be to get a rush out of reading something like that?


(89,636 posts)
16. Don't know how much credence to put in your article, but Ambassador Wilson once said of Saddam....
Fri Sep 6, 2013, 02:25 AM
Sep 2013

... that his practice, when shaking hands, was to deliberately place his hand high so that the man in front of him would have to look down in order for his own hand to meet Saddam's. Click go the cameras, and you have a photo of a foreign dignitary apparently bowing his head submissively to Saddam Hussein.

Joe Wilson was aware of this, so when he was sent to Iraq as Deputy Chief of Mission (1988-91) and was introduced to Saddam, he held his own hand yet higher while staring S.H. in the eyes. I was at a speech he gave after his trip to Niger, which is where I heard this story.

I do think that many men play dominance games, and some (such as Putin and S.H.) are more thuggish than others. They want to be feared and they are not subtle. They will try to physically and psychologically dominate other world leaders (or their representatives) as they do their subordinates at home. It is not wise to let them get away with it.

Barack Obama is by nature a gentleman and courteous, but he has a powerful male competitive streak nonetheless and I sense that he understands this dynamic very well. He has bowed his tall body toward smaller people who are friendly, but in this case apparently not. If Putin had to raise his head to look at Obama's face, that was one point up for Obama. The smiles they gave for the camera were more in the nature of a rictus. So far, Putin has been playing cat and mouse, using our own freedoms against us, as some have noted (in the Snowden case and otherwise) and enjoying himself. I rather hope he becomes discomfited now.

Part of Wilson's career, prior to marrying Valerie Plame:
From 1988 to 1991, he was the Deputy Chief of Mission (to US Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie) at the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. In the wake of Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, he became the last American diplomat to meet with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, telling him in very clear terms to leave Kuwait (Wilson, The Politics of Truth 107–27). When Hussein sent a note to Wilson (along with other embassy heads in Baghdad) threatening to execute anyone sheltering foreigners in Iraq, Wilson publicly repudiated the dictator by appearing at a press conference wearing a homemade noose around his neck and declaring, "If the choice is to allow American citizens to be taken hostage or to be executed, I will bring my own fucking rope." [8] Despite Hussein's threats, Wilson sheltered more than 100 Americans at the embassy and successfully evacuated several thousand people (Americans and other nationals) from Iraq. For his actions, he was called a "a true American hero" by President George H. W. Bushhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_C._Wilson

Jesus Malverde

(10,274 posts)
18. Reminds me of the time the Israeli's humiliated the Turks with a short couch.
Fri Sep 6, 2013, 02:36 AM
Sep 2013

Breaking with diplomatic protocol, Israeli officials failed to include the customary Turkish flag on the table between them and the Turkish ambassador, whom they seated on a low couch. To rub it in, they instructed the press members in attendance to note that they were sitting in higher chairs and the usual diplomatic niceties were conspicuously absent.


Interesting story about Amb. Wilson.

I believe Putin made Kerry wait some crazy amount of time at their last meeting.


(89,636 posts)
19. It's like the CEO in his throne-like chair and massive desk, with the other in a shorter chair
Fri Sep 6, 2013, 04:00 AM
Sep 2013

Oh yes, that one is common in the business world, too.

There are many ways of making your point felt.



(1,954 posts)
17. Well...
Fri Sep 6, 2013, 02:28 AM
Sep 2013

... I really don't like Putin, but he's not the one going out there threatening to bomb countries. I respect him more as a world leader than Obama right now. Hope this really changes.



(32,886 posts)
25. Most of the world respects Obama a lot more than Putin according to polling
Fri Sep 6, 2013, 07:36 AM
Sep 2013

Nonetheless, Obama remains personally popular and has consistently received much higher confidence ratings over the course of his presidency than his predecessor George W. Bush. And he is better regarded than other current world leaders. Only Angela Merkel comes close to the breadth of Obama's popularity. But even in Europe, a Pew Research poll last year found the American president getting higher ratings than the German chancellor in seven out of eight major European nations. In other parts of the world, more citizens expressed confidence in Obama than Merkel for the most part.

Our polling over the years has found no contest as to who's more popular, Barack Obama or his G20 host, Vladimir Putin. In 2012, Obama's median average confidence rating was 42% compared to 19% for Putin in 21 countries where the image of both leaders was tested. Notably, in China, Putin evoked more confidence than Obama.


(8,352 posts)
21. As a somatic psychologist
Fri Sep 6, 2013, 06:56 AM
Sep 2013

I know that this woman got it completely ass-backwards.

When an individual has to 'try' to appear physically dominant - firming up the handshake, invading personal space, etc. - then they are not the dominant individual. They are insecure in their position and are using 'preening' personna displays to shore up their insecurity. This the double-message that Obama is projecting.

Putin appears much more at ease, confident, and secure in himself. It isn't really surprising given the circumstances. Putin is not dealing with a conflict within his own government and country over the Syrian excursion. Putin is a highly ranked Judo master who knows his own physical limitations & powers well.

With that said, this kind of article which passes for news here in the US is just sickening. As John Stewart said, what is this - fucking middle school?!


(2,560 posts)
28. My thoughts exactly.
Fri Sep 6, 2013, 08:01 AM
Sep 2013

Acting the "big" guy is not the same as being the big guy. I've seen guys (of both sexes) be the centre of attention at various gatherings while sitting on a rug on the ground e.g. some of my karate sempai, none of whom would "big-note"themselves.



(58,179 posts)
31. Really?
Fri Sep 6, 2013, 08:07 AM
Sep 2013

I mean, really? This is what passes for commentary and analysis these days?

What's next? A dick-measuring contest at the urinals sponsored by NBC and hosted by Chris Matthews? CLEARLY THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT HAS OUT-DICKED HIS RUSSIAN COUNTERPART DON'T INTERRUPT ME O MY GOD MAN-CRUSH WHAAAARGARBLE

My fucking head hurts.

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