Joe Biden has been President of the United States for a whole week now and some of his first moments on the global stage were marred by a rather awkward gaffe. During a meeting between the President and Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil, it appeared that Biden forgot to shake hands with his South American counterpart.
The moment happened as Presidents Biden and Bolsonaro were getting ready to walk out of the Oval Office in the White House, however when President Biden moved forward to make his way out, it seemed he had forgotten about Bolsonaro’s outstretched hand as he walked straight past it. The two leaders were accompanied by their respective foreign ministers and had just finished a bilateral meeting discussing the importance of strengthening ties between the two countries.
Biden’s forgetting to shake hands was immediately noted by commentators on social media, many of whom came to the Biden’s defense, noting his age and that he likely was more focused on the meeting and its importance. It also sparked a wave of humor at the U.S. President’s expense, with many making jokes about his lack of social etiquette.
In truth, Biden’s faux-pas is little more than an awkward moment that won’t cast any long term ripple effects in the relationship between the two countries. However, it does provide an important reminder of the importance of such diplomatic meetings and gives us some insight into the importance of etiquette.
The exchange between Biden and Bolsonaro serves to remind us of the importance of recognizing one another on the global stage while respecting each other’s cultural and personal boundaries. This is especially important in diplomatic meetings, where respect and etiquette can go a long way towards building a strong relationship between two countries.
Despite the gaffe, the meeting between the two leaders could be considered a success. Following their meeting, Biden announced a $140 million commitment to strengthen the United States’ relationship with Brazil. After their meeting, the two leaders released a joint statement praising their meeting and expressing a shared commitment to work more closely in the future.
At the end of the day, Biden’s mistake may have been an amusing blip on the radar of international diplomacy, but it also serves as a reminder of the importance of respect in international relations. In diplomatic settings, it is essential to demonstrate respect and adhere to basic etiquette in order to build strong relationships and foster cooperation. The Biden-Bolsonaro meeting is a shining example of how such respect and etiquette go a long way in binding two countries together.