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Opinion
Andreas Kluth

Nord Stream 2 Will Overshadow U.S.-German Relations for Years

By doggedly backing a Russian gas link, Angela Merkel has let down the U.S. and Europe — and left her successor only bad options.

Now, about Vladimir’s gas...

Now, about Vladimir’s gas...

Photographer: Sandra Steins/Bundesregierung via Getty Images)

Just months before she retires from politics, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is jetting to Washington to meet U.S. President Joe Biden. The event will be staged to show a return to transatlantic harmony after four years of acrimony under Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump. But to keep up those appearances, the Americans will be hiding a crushing sense of disappointment, and the Germans a gnawing anxiety.

In different ways, both Merkel and Biden have been foils to Trump, not least by representing multilateralism and cooperation rather than nationalism. So Biden and his team were hoping for a big show of support from Merkel, especially in confronting the autocratic antagonists of the democratic West: China and Russia.