As soon as the blood works its way back up to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s brain, he’ll realize that he’s getting a bit of criticism back home for meeting Sarah Palin in New York and being one step away from asking her, “Are those space pants you’re wearing? Because your ass is out of this world!”

Well, not quite that extreme, but here’s what happened:

What Zardari said after shaking Palin’s hand will likely prove a great deal less memorable. “You are more gorgeous than you are on [television],” he told Palin after she declared she was honored to meet him. “Now I know why the whole of America is crazy about you,” Zardari added, flashing his trademark teeth-baring smile.

At this point, the two were urged to shake hands again, presumably for the benefit of the cameras. “I’m supposed to pose again,” Palin said quietly. Pointing toward the aide that prompted them, Zardari said, “If he’s insisting, I might hug.”

Below is a short, rather funny video of Middle-Eastern news anchors Abdullah Cronkite and Fatima Couric doing a “back, and to the left” style analysis of the handshake heard ’round the Muslim world.

How do you say “Hey, how you doin’?” in Pashto?:

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