During her 11 years in power, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has proved exceptionally adept at solving the puzzle of the challenges of the most unpredictable leaders in the world. But a problem like Donald J Trump has never been found.
M. Trump and Merkel – separated by highly divergent temperaments, visions of the world, leadership styles and visions of Europe – experienced a breakthrough just before their brief encounter on the eve of the Group of 20 conference in Hamburg on Thursday. Got it too.
The 40-minute meeting that followed was largely incident-free, touching only slightly on the hottest issues of climate change, trade and the “burning of foreign policy issues” of North Korea, Ukraine and the Middle East, according to one Short presentation of Merkel’s government.
People close to the two most powerful Western leaders say that brevity and good nature were, in fact, the main objective. Both parties expect a number of low-octane interactions in which to articulate their differences without previous uncomfortable optical meetings.
But these differences, especially in what Mr. Trump withdrew the United States from climate agreement in Paris last month, are inescapable. Merkel already faces violent protests against globalization on the streets outside the conference, has focused primarily on the vocation of a way to coexist with a president whose views differ so drastically detrimental to theirs.
The best thing he has found so far is to cultivate a chain door behind the daughter of President Ivanka, who tried unsuccessfully to convince his father to stay in the Paris agreement.
But Merkel is re-elected in the fall, and the challenge of M. Trump has become essential in German politics. Therefore, Merkel, the short daughter of a Protestant cleric, did something that seems clumsy called M. Trump in public and question his commitment to the American leaders that Europeans had taken for granted since World War II.
“Merkel is clearly trying to figure out how to deal with Trump, and it’s not easy for her,” said Klaus Brinkbäumer, editor-in-chief of Der Spiegel, the country’s most widely spread review.
“He does not like to be news in the speech, but publicly, he was more critical against Trump than he would have expected,” Brinkbäumer said Thursday a few hours before the Air Force One arrives in Hamburg the day one day of M. Trump stop at Warsaw.
“In private, the only obvious way is through the president’s daughter, so she invited Ivanka to this conference in Berlin earlier this year,” he said. “But even that is not working. German diplomats still do not know who to call the State Department to serious problems or even those of their counterparts in the White House.”
Merkel and her close circle of advisers expected other White House officials – HR McMaster, in particular, national security adviser M. Trump and Gary D. Cohn, president of the National Economic Council – to provide a safe route. But this does not prove to be the case.
Merkel The team was deeply discouraged by an opinion piece from the Wall Street Journal written by Mr. McMaster and M. Cohn in May that championed the motto “America First” Trump, giving priority to the country’s “vital interests” Countries.