In their first face-to-face meeting, Trump and Merkel will discuss trade and security
What undoubtedly could be the most significant political encounter of the year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will travel to Washington on Tuesday to meet President Donald Trump, the first meeting between these two world leaders.
Ahead of German Chancellor’s visit to the U.S., mainstream media is once again busy inflating the stature of their favourite European leader. “The great disrupter confronts the last defender of the liberal world order,” wrote The New York Times. London-based Financial Times declared in its headline, “The time for German leadership has arrived.” However, a lot of Merkel’s political clout has been chipped away since President Obama endorsed her re-election bid while visiting Berlin last November.
Once flying high in opinion polls, Merkel is now trailing behind the Social-Democratic candidate Martin Schulz — an E.U. loyalist parachuted from Brussels to lead his party. Seeing a socialist surging in the polls, the liberal German media, too, has dropped its once beloved Chancellor like a hot schnitzel, and jumped on the bandwagon mesmerised by the ‘Schulz-Effect’ ahead of the September election. Alienated by her ‘Migrant Policy’, a large chunk of her traditional Christian-Democratic base has migrated over to the right-wing newcomer party Alternative for Germany (AfD).
After isolating Germany from East European countries by her insistence on relocating migrants broadly across the European Union, German Chancellor is now looking at a real possibility of permanently losing France and the Netherlands as E.U. allies — two founding members of the union– if frontrunners Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders were to win their respective elections.
Merkel’s ill-advised ‘migrant deal’ with Turkey’s Erdogan is on the verge of collapse. Despite Merkel’s promise of billions of Euros in down-payment for Turkey’s effort to curb migrant influx into Europe, it has only emboldened Erdogan to make even more outrageous demands, such as visa-free travel for 75 million Turks. With Turkish immigrants rioting in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, that diplomatic strife is now spilling over to the European streets.
Germany’s state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports about Chancellor Merkel’s upcoming visit to Washington:
It will be the first face-to-face for the leaders since Trump repeatedly criticized Merkel’s refugee policies. White House officials expect the two will look forward, not back, as they discuss a host of pressing issues. (…)
The two are expected to discuss strengthening the NATO alliance, collaborating in the fight against terrorism and taking steps to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, White House officials said Friday.
More broadly, Trump’s first encounter will be aimed at building a personal rapport with a European partner who was among former President Barack Obama’s strongest allies and international confidantes, according to the officials, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity despite the president’s recent criticism of anonymous sources.
They are expected to discuss Germany’s level of defense spending for the NATO alliance, the Ukraine conflict, Syrian refugees, the European Union and a host of other issues, said three senior administration officials who briefed reporters.
President Trump has been consistent in his stance towards Chancellor Merkel. Following his electoral victory, President Trump told German newspaper BILD that it was a “catastrophic” mistake to open Europe’s borders to millions of illegal migrants. “I respect her and I like her, but I think it was a mistake. People make mistakes, but I think it was a really big mistake.”
Today, both the U.S. and Germany need each other as strong and reliable partners in trade and security. But President Trump has made it clear that he wants to renegotiate the terms of this partnership. He expects Germany to increase its NATO spending and seeks to lower the current $65 billion trade deficit.
Video: Kellyanne Conway weighs in on Chancellor Merkel’s visit
[Cover image courtesy ZDF, YouTube]