Balance of power

Merkel pushes for larger global leadership role to reduce impact of Trump, Putin

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

As German chancellor Angela Merkel campaigns for next month’s election, she is telling supporters that she plans on taking a more visible role in international affairs — in part to combat the potential consequences of a world in which unpredictable factors such as Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin wield disproportionate influence.

“Things have changed,” explained a Merkel aide. “This means Germany must take on more responsibility.”

Already, Germany has had to deal with the consequences of refugees stemming from the civil war in Syria. In neighboring Ukraine, Germany has been working with France in an attempt to negotiate a diplomatic response to Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea. And after Trump quit the Paris global climate change accord, Merkel urged her fellow European leaders to “take our fate into our own hands.”

At the July G20 Summit, which was chaired by Merkel, 19 members of the G20 broke with Trump to agree that the Paris Accord was “irreversible.” After negotiation work led by Germany, a communique also included a text that the the U.S. would sign as well — a move designed to help “[get] Trump into the process.” Farther from home, Germany is also reportedly hoping to jumpstart talks in the North Korea dispute by using their embassy in Pyongyang and their trade-based relationship with China to help ease tensions.

Despite her push for greater leadership in Europe, Merkel will likely be careful to not wade too deeply into world affairs. Germany’s failed attempt at establishing a Nazi empire during WWII has led to the country being largely stripped of its military power — and just 30 percent of Germans, according to one survey, believe it should be a top priority for Germany to further promote its foreign interests.

Read the full story at Reuters.


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