Spot The Alpha: Big Face Edition

A number of readers emailed me this photo:

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev after a joint press conference at the Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Monday, July 6, 2009. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

[Today we have a guest appearance by famed Yankee sportscaster Phil Rizzuto, the voice behind the sexually suggestive play-by-play in Meat Loaf’s Paradise by the Dashboard Light, to give us the color commentary for this photo.]

Ok, here we go, we got a real pressure cooker
going here, two world leaders, nobody on, no score,
bottom of the American empire, there’s the walk-up and
there it is, a dead fish handshake tucked in close, look
at Obama try-hard. This boy can really fail!
He’s getting his fingers squeezed and really smiling a lot
now, he’s not letting up at all, he’s gonna
try for the shoulder pat; the alpha maneuver is bobbled off-center,
and here comes Medvedev’s response, and what a snub!
He’s not even gonna turn his head, here he comes, he’s alpha!
And, wait, a smirk–a smirk and a head cock, this Russian really
makes the amateur pay with his haughty disdain.
Obama steps up to the podium, here’s the greeting–
he’s leaning in, and what beta body language he’s got, he’s trying
too hard, here’s the shake, it’s by the fingertips–
dissed in public! Holy cow, stolen dignity!
Obama’s taking a pretty bad beating out there, almost
begging him to turn and face him directly. Medvedev
doesn’t even glance over, stands his ground, and it’s signaled, signaled
to the mass media, the new world order is on!
Here comes the new guy, alpha play, and it’s not even close,
here’s the match-up, there’s the play at the podium,
holy cow, Medvedev won’t even share a mic!
It’s a bad day for American leadership, folks!

***

I’m back. Thanks, Phil. Great JOOORB for a dead guy. The first time I analyzed the alpha-beta interplay of world leaders, it garnered a lot more controversy. But this photo leaves no doubt. Not since Kruschev’s theatrical shoe banging incident and his infamous “We will bury you” pronouncement, has there been such attempted disrespect of an American leader.

But, times have changed. Back then, though America was not as rich or decadent as she is now, she was a power on the rise. Perception matters, and right now the perception, justifiably, (thank you, massive third world immigration) is that America is a fading power. Which brings us to an interesting thought experiment. Judged only by the actions of Kruschev’s and Medvedev’s reactions to American leadership, in which time period was America more likely to be the alpha:

a. when Kruschev disrespected us, or

b. when Medvedev disrespected us?

You can sometimes better analyze who is the alpha male by the reactions of those around him. Are they deferential? Hostile? Disdainful? Indifferent? Hysterical? The answer to the above thought experiment is (A). Medvedev’s cocky smirk and Obama’s approval seeking body language tell us that Medvedev believes America is a has-been, a pushover, a laughingstock. In contrast, Kruschev’s paranoiac outrage is what you would expect from a lesser alpha trying desperately to unseat the top dog.

What makes this more humiliating for America is the fact that Russia is a basket case, drowning in alcoholics and oligarchs and demographically imploding. Obama was “big faced” by a second-rate thug.

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