Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor famous for her stability, quiet competence and her moral strength to let in 1 million refugees from the Syrian crisis, is set to meet President Donald Trump. As James Rubin writes, the contrasts could not be more stark. But what does it mean for these two political juggernauts to meet, the ostentatious president and restrained chancellor? In the short term, probably little. Diplomatic relations aren’t formed from one meeting, but some measure of influence could occur, perhaps swaying Trump (or Merkel) on issues that pertain to them.
In particular I imagine the issues of NATO and Putin will be prominent concerns of Merkel though whether Trump will listen on the latter, because he won’t or can’t, remains up to debate (unfortunately). Beyond that any major issue or development is unlikely to occur, due in part to the nature of diplomacy and the Merkel herself.
Remember, there was a time when Obama and Merkel were distant rather than the staunch allies they were by the end. Angel Merkel is a cautious woman, despite what her humanitarian efforts might portray, and she isn’t likely to outright side with or against Trump based on one meeting, even with all the events of the past few years informing her.
I’d suggest patience. What matters is in the long term, not in the next few days.
Politico: The Leader of the Free World meets Donald Trump