German Chancellor Angela Merkel waits for her guest, the President of Burkina Faso, expected for a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin on March 21, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / dpa / Kay Nietfeld / Germany OUT (Photo credit should read KAY NIETFELD/AFP/Getty Images)Kay Nietfeld — AFP/Getty Images
The unflappable German Chancellor—now in her 12th year and gearing up for September elections—has her capable hands full, between a refugee crisis, the unraveling of Europe, rising right-wing nationalism, Russian aggression, and a new U.S. President who could change America’s stance on all those issues and more. A committed internationalist, Merkel bristles at the idea that Germany is the liberal order’s lead defender; still, since she’s become the de facto leader of Europe, her dominance is clear. The free world is watching her.