Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidityIt's being given as a Heinlein quote (although I am not sure). Several references credited him; it does sound like his rather sardonic humor.
How does this all fit into the news of the day?
Well, it fits into the brouhaha about Obama's bow to the Emperor of Japan. No, he really shouldn't have done it, anymore than he did when he bowed to the mideast ruler (yes, he did - any lame excuses about how he didn't are just that - lame).
On the other hand, who does it harm?
Well, it harms the image of America. We call ourselves sovereign; but Obama's actions say that we are subservient. That's bad in international relations. Image is nearly everything - a low image emboldens other countries to attack, on the theory that we won't have the *&^%$# to do anything about it. It's happened before; it could happen again.
Myself, I think that Obama is embarrassed about his reflexive bow to the Saudi king; this bow is deliberate, and intended to minimize the meaning of the previous bow. If that's true, the only question is: will future bows be the norm?