June 27th, 2012
08:59 AM ET

When a handshake is not just a handshake

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II shook hands Wednesday with former IRA commander Martin McGuinness in a historic gesture marking an advance in the peace process around British rule of Northern Ireland.

The handshake comes 14 years after the end of a conflict that claimed about 3,500 lives and illustrates one example of when a handshake is more than just a handshake.

A few other handy examples in the history books:

• In 1972, on his trip to China, U.S. President Richard Nixon shook hands with Mao Zedong, in a first step toward better relations between the two countries.

• Thirteen years later, in Geneva, Switzerland, U.S. President Ronald Reagan did the same with another Communist leader: Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev. The two leaders were seeking common ground on arms reduction and other issues.

• Then, there was a historic moment in 1990. South African President F. W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela shook hands in an iconic moment on the path to end apartheid.

• And finally: Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat famously shook hands at the White House in 1993. The two were later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts in Mideast peace negotiations.

What do you think? What are other instances throughout history when a handshake was more than a handshake? Share your comments below.

Post by:
Topics: Diplomacy

soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. Gunner

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. "Sun-tzu, Chinese General and military strategist 400 BC"

    Sometimes good for got, sometimes good for naught. Either way wash your hands.

    July 4, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  2. vijanawetu

    Reblogged this on Vijana wetu.

    July 9, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  3. Hannah

    With all these silly wessbtei, such a great page keeps my internet hope alive.

    July 7, 2014 at 7:12 am | Reply
  4. Weverton

    I have downloaded the file to insatll blender in Fedora 15, but it doesn't insatll the program. The only thing I can do is to open blender and to work with it like a virtual program. It is not within my system and it doesn't appear in my applications. Why? What do I need to do to insatll it?

    July 21, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Reply
  5. Cristivaldo

    First of all, thank you for writing. When you're ready to train with me, plaese let me know, and e-mail to my website will put you on the list for notification of upcoming Speed-Trance classes. One of the ways to find my website is to add a .com to my screen name listed above. They will not let me post a web site link directly on here.

    July 25, 2014 at 10:02 pm | Reply
1 2 3 4

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,062 other followers