Donald Trump used many politicians as piñatas on the campaign trail, but there’s one target in particular that he may need to make nice with: German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Germany’s growing economic and political influence—along with Britain’s impending exit from the EU—has made the country one of America’s key allies. Germany—rather than the U.K—can help the United States understand what’s going on in Europe.
The need for a healthy relationship is mutual given the U.S.’s military commitment in Germany and its role as Germany’s largest trading partner. Plus, as Europe contends with its own surging populism, Merkel is the last real defender of the continent’s trans-Atlantic partnerhsip with the U.S. Nevertheless, Merkel and Trump could not be more different. She is as austere as he is flamboyant.
But anyone who doubts Merkel’s ability to take on Trump and his machismo aught to look at her track record. Politico sums it up nicely:
Merkel’s path from unknown East German physicist to Europe’s preeminent leader is littered with bombastic men who have underestimated her. She outmaneuvered an entire generation of male rivals within her Christian Democratic party en route to the chancellorship, relying on her formidable analytical ability, instinct and even guile.
More recently, she has had to cope with some of the world’s biggest egos, such as Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Silvio Berlusconi.
Trump could soon join that list.