Americans Abroad: When Goodwill Turns Into Gaffe

Gestures of goodwill can be a tricky business, particularly if you're a dignitary visiting a foreign land with customs you're not quite used to. Here are five memorable moments in which American luminaries raised eyebrows abroad. They probably all meant well, but some flubs were better received than others. —Reno Ong

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6 comments
Beersheva
Beersheva like.author.displayName 1 Like

Threaten to turn their capital into a "sea of fire" and they don't mind. But greet someone with your hand in your pocket and they go ape.

UliRike
UliRike

People are just a conglomerate of habits transferred by their environment. Hand in pocket during an official meeting is simply rude. 

kellyjo5150
kellyjo5150

Bill Gates is a bit of a nerd..no harm or insult intended and clearly President Park was plenty smart enough to figure that out.  Sheesh.  Gates habitually keeps a hand in his pocket...probably a bit nervous ????  !!!!!

formerlyjames
formerlyjames

American greeting and affection customs trump sticks in the mud.  The only alarming gaff was Clinton's reset button.   She had no capable and fluent Russian translator available? 

deanmiah
deanmiah

Lets face it its Bill Gates, wealthy in terms of US Dollar but very poor in terms of culture or nobility. Luckily he was not wearing shorts!