Among the mangroves, Biden practices diplomacy

Bali, Indonesia

President Joe Biden has ended a week of meetings with his foreign counterparts – and the discussions were Russia’s war in Ukraine, climate change as an existential threat to the Earth and the pandemic that has unleashed food, energy and economic crises around the world -. With a final symbolic gesture to Bali.

He planted a mangrove.

Mangrove represents strength, resilience and stability in the face of adversity. So it seemed appropriate that in the final hours of his return home on Air Force One, the president – ​​surrounded by the leaders of the United States’ most important allies – helped bring down the mangrove trees to the ground.

Biden inserted his tree into a pre-dug hole before using a shovel to shovel dirt into the hole. Wearing a G20 cap and wrist rubs, the president raised the blade for the assembled press to see, a move quickly copied by other foreign leaders standing next to him.

Later, Biden was seen chatting with a number of leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Cameras heard Macron and a driver tell him about a debt-forgiveness plan he developed in the 1980s with the late Republican senator Dick Lugar to reward countries that don’t cut down forests.

Later, a man approached Biden about an encounter several years ago that included his granddaughter Naomi.

“That granddaughter is getting married in four days,” Biden said.

“That’s why you miss APEC,” the guide said.

Half a world away, Biden’s predecessor was announcing a third run for the White House. But Biden responded nonchalantly as he strolled through the mangroves.

When asked if there was a reaction, he looked at Macron.

“No,” Biden said, “not really.”

Biden’s participation in the mangrove planting event was originally planned to be his first public event on his last day in Indonesia, but that changed overnight after a “Russian-made” missile killed him in Poland, a NATO member. two people

After an emergency meeting with key allies to discuss the situation, Biden said the US would fully support Poland’s investigation into the blast. He also said that “preliminary information” appeared to contradict the idea that the missile was launched from Russia.

“I don’t want to say that until I fully investigate. At the head of the route it is unlikely that he was thrown from Russia. But we will see,” he said.

Biden’s three-country trip through Egypt, Cambodia and Indonesia came at a time of turmoil around the world. All of Biden’s meetings with foreign leaders brought up the ongoing war in Ukraine, which – since Russia’s invasion began in February – has transformed the world order and destabilized the global economy. It has also served to strengthen the United States’ alliance with some of its member nations, as evidenced by the G20 summit in Bali, which resulted in overwhelming condemnation of the war by most member nations.

Indonesia is said to have the most extensive mangrove cover in the world: about 3.5 million hectares, according to the World Bank.

Mangroves play a helpful role in preventing coastal erosion and provide protection from extreme weather events such as typhoons, hurricanes and tsunamis. They also play an important role in the fight against climate change, with the potential to store a significant amount of carbon.

One of the many coordination issues at the G20 Summit was dealing with the climate crisis and clean energy, and mangrove represents a step in that direction.

Climate change was a key topic during Biden’s meetings with the leaders of India and Indonesia, and the president also announced a series of investments by the US and multilateral organizations around the world at a G20 Global Infrastructure and Investment Partnership event. in clean energy

Among the mangroves, world leaders offered this small, symbolic step to combat climate change before departing from Bali in their private jets.