Evidently the Chileans cancelled a state dinner for 200 because they refused to subject the guests to the ignominy of passing through a metal detector in order to dine with the President of the United States. Lest there be any misunderstanding, it is only the president's presence at one of these tin-pot events that gives it any meaning to begin with.
Perhaps you don't normally need this level of security for the president of Chile. That's because nobody cares about the president of Chile. Whether he lives or dies is of little consequence outside his immediate family. But when the President of the United States comes to town, you're playing in the big leagues. If you can't handle the pressure in the majors, fine. It's not as if the world will be profoundly affected if a president never sets foot again in Chile. You have two choices: either the president comes with his own security and all that entails, or he doesn't come. It's up to you.
Here's a snippet from the Washington Post's coverage:
Chilean journalists were critical of Bush's actions. Marcelo Romero, a reporter with Santiago's newspaper La Cuarta, said: "All of us journalists agree that President Bush looked like a cowboy. It was total breach of protocol. I've seen a lot of John Wayne movies, and President Bush was definitely acting like a cowboy."The more I read of this nonsense and the more I contemplate the notion of some Third World thugs separating the President of the United States from his security detail, the more convinced I am that the agents should have simply shot the Chilean goons in the face. How long have whiny and effete foreigners been trotting out this old "John Wayne/cowboy" saw? John Wayne characters actually killed people. They want to see John Wayne? I say we show 'em John Wayne.