Dutton traveled to Seoul earlier this week to talk military cooperation, joint infantry exercises, and naval and air force training with his South Korean counterpart, Suh Wook.
The content of their talks wasn’t what most people will remember from the trip, however. Instead, the internet cringed as a masked Dutton clearly struggled to comprehend Suh’s attempts to elbow-bump him. In the video, Dutton first raises a fist, then offers Suh the wrong arm, and finally allows Suh to manhandle his arm into place for an awkward frozen bump.
Luckily for the Australian defense chief, Dutton’s black face mask covered any potential reddening of the cheeks.
Footage of the gaffe was posted online by News Fighters, an Australian podcast, on Thursday, and Dutton’s bumbling body language was ridiculed. “What did he think it was?” one commenter wondered. “Half a black panther salute?”
The elbow bump has become a ubiquitous greeting on the world stage since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, used by political leaders to demonstrate their commitment to minimizing physical contact. However, in Dutton’s home country, even an elbow bump is considered too close for comfort under some of Australia’s most draconian lockdown policies. In Sydney, for example, a socially distanced outdoor conversation with mates is still frowned upon.
Dutton is not the only Australian politician to suffer global embarrassment this week. Announcing a new security pact between the US, UK, and Australia on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden apparently forgot Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s name, referring to the Aussie leader as “that fella down under.” Morrison should not feel too bad about Biden’s memory lapse, however – the Democrat president regularly forgets the names of his own officials, too.
Like this story? Share it with a friend!
© 2021, paradox. All rights reserved.