Balance of Power: Merkel’s Word

Trump, Merkel Trade Barbs in Post-G-7 Dispute

What was she thinking?

Angela Merkel has come under fire for hastening the end of the trans-Atlantic alliance for domestic political gain.

Yet her assertion that Europe has to step up as U.S. ties become “to some extent” less dependable was welcomed at home. She’s seeking a fourth term in September elections, and there’s no doubt that standing up to Donald Trump plays well in Germany.

And there is a precedent. Gerhard Schroeder refused to back the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2002, going on to win that year’s German election.

But if there’s one thing we’ve learned throughout Merkel’s near-12 years in office, it’s to take her at her word.

Merkel acknowledges her comments may have taken on added significance after Trump’s visit to Europe, but that’s not her fault, according to a German government official. She was merely stating what she sees as reality, with Europe taking the lead during the Ukraine conflict and the refugee crisis, the official said.

For Trump, the domestic politics of a Merkel feud are simple, with little downside. This is exactly what his voters elected him for.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Donald Trump arrive for the group photo at the G7 Taormina summit on the island of Sicily on May 26, 2017.
Photographer: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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Netflix's House of Cards.
Source: Netflix
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