Rules of Diplomacy Publicly Thrown Out The Window Before Millions Of Viewers

From: YouMe Support Foundation with Win a Resort
Published: Tue Apr 07 2009

The Italian prime Minister 's car rolled up to the red carpet, at the NATO conference in Strasbourg. As Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi climbed out, he signaled to the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, the host, he had to take a phone call. Merkel was left flat footed, in the face of a major break from diplomatic protocol. Berlusconi paced the banks of the Rhine river, speaking forcefully on his cell phone, with his back firmly turned to Merkel. Millions of viewers around from around the globe watched the very public throwing out of the protocol rule book, much to the merriment and speculation of the commentators.

Angela Merkel stood alone on a red carpet, to formally greet each of the heads of state, the 27 (should have been 28) member nations of NATO, including President Obama, in a 45 minute ceremony. BBC Television deferred their advertised programs to beam the ceremony live. They were gathering on the German – French border to make an historic walk over a foot bridge, joining the two countries. Nicolas Sarkozy, the French prime minister, met the heads of NATO in the centre of the bridge, for a photo shoot of this history making moment for the European alliance. The group then proceeded to walk to the French side of the Rhine.

Angela Merkel disappeared inside, after greeting the remainder of the NATO heads, with a final stare at Berlusconi and a shrug of her shoulders. Berlusconi was seen walking off across the neighbouring grassland, closely followed by half a dozen body guards. Berlusconi did not rejoin the group, in the historical bridge walk, or the one minute silence in honour of NATO soldiers killed in action. He only appeared on the French side of the Rhine, in time for the second photo shoot.

Berlusconi's office said he had been doing NATO business on the phone, in an attempt to convince Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, to accept Europe's candidate for the next head of the military alliance. Turkey has raised objections to the Danish prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, replacing the outgoing secretary-general of NATO.

Only days before the Italian prime minister had been ribbed, or was that scolded, by the Queen of England, at a G20 photo shoot, for shouting at Barak Obama. Only days before the Italian prime minister had been ribbed, or was that scolded, by the Queen of England, at a G20 photo shoot, for shouting at Barak Obama. Now in his third term of office, the 72 year-old media magnate, had earlier made another diplomatic screw up when he twice referred to Obama’s skin colour as a sun tan.

The gaffs don’t stop there. Michelle Obama earlier in the week, briefly put her hand on the back of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, as they chatted during a Buckingham Palace reception. The Queen had placed her own hand on the First Lady's back during their conversation. However, the golden rule still applies. It is a major blooper for any person to touch the royal person of the reigning Monarch of England.

Australia's prime minister, John Howard, joined the rank of famous bloopers in 2007, when he appeared to put his arm around the Queen, as he tried to direct her through a crowd. Though he still adamantly denies touching the royal body, photographs show he came real close.

In 1992, Paul Keeting, then prime minister of Australia, earned the name 'Lizard of Oz', when he placed his hand on the Queen's back, during a tour of Canberra’s Parliament House.


Dr Wendy Stenberg-Tendys and her husband are CEO's of YouMe Support Foundation ( and avidly follow world news. They provide high school education grants for children who are without hope. You can read more about this exciting project, that aims to give these children a chance to fulfill their dreams. No other organization is helping these kids. Take a few minutes to check it out at Win A Resort ( There could be something life changing in it for you as well.
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