From Pine View Farm

Murky Merkel? 0

Der Spiegel parses Angela Merkel’s speech about the relationship between Europe and the Trumpled States of America. They ask and attempt to answer four questions. Here’s one question and answer (emphasis in the original–follow the link for the rest):

1. Why did her comments cause such a stir around the world?

On the eve of Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Europe, heads of state and government around the world were eager to put on a veneer of harmony. That effort, though, is over — and Merkel is one significant reason why. Since Trump’s victory last November, many see the German chancellor as the leader of the free world and her appearance on Sunday was a sharp break with the careful Trump-related rhetoric she had thus far employed. To be sure, she reminded him in her congratulatory message after he won the election of the values that form the basis for the trans-Atlantic relationship, but she had nevertheless consistently sought to emphasize commonalities rather than divisions. Merkel’s comments on Sunday are a turning point because she cast doubt on past convictions — and provided a clear indication that she is losing hope that she can ever work constructively together with Trump. Or — a slightly different interpretation — she is now willing to express those doubts that have been building for some time. Either way, she did so in a manner which was, for her, unusually blunt.

In related news, Josh Marshall attempts to understand the change in tone by Europe’s leaders. Here’s the crucial bit (emphasis added):

Trump’s speech alone is likely a sufficient explanation. But I suspect there’s an additional element. Most of the major European and NATO leaders had already met Trump in Washington – Merkel, May, Gentiloni, Trudeau and others. But I suspect in meeting as a group, over a more extended period and in a context specifically focused on Europe and NATO there was a further realization that what they are watching from across the Atlantic is no act. Indeed, Trump appears more impulsive and erratic in person than on TV. Rather than growing into the job he’s growing into the role of aggressor.


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