No, Obama Didn't Join the "Wives Club" at APEC

The scene is awkward because a lot of other leaders brought their spouses and Obama didn't.

APEC 2014 big_0 (1)

Much as I hate to shoot down a viral slam at Obama, this photo does show him being sidelined. It doesn't however show him somewhere off with the "wives".

Here's a better photo of the same scene.

apec-politicians (1)

Obama is off to the side while Russia and China hog the center, positioning themselves ahead of Canada and Australia. There's a certain amount of distribution here, but there's no question that Obama is rather off to the side.

He hasn't however been sent off to stand with the wives. He's actually standing ahead of the President of Singapore and his wife. To his left is the President of Indonesia and his wife. To the top left is, I believe, but I might be wrong, the President of the Philippines and his wife.

On his right is the female president of the South Korea.

The scene is a little awkward because a lot of other leaders brought their spouses and Obama didn't. That leaves him looking like the third wheel surrounded by couples.

Putin kept his wife/mistress out of the picture, but the Chinese leader didn't. Still the center consisted of leaders without their spouses, while the side has a lot of leaders standing with their spouses creating the impression of a wives club. Actually it's just various leaders and their wives.

The scene has been arranged so that the Chinese leader (not Putin) is at the center with his wife, while a whole bunch of male leaders without wives surround him, making them look like courtiers for the emperor and empress.

Obama is off to the side and that communicates an obvious message. Russia is attendant on China. America is a has-been.