Merkel’s legacy: A defender of the rule-based international order

 Merkel’s legacy: A defender of the rule-based international order

Former president Barack Obama slightly squinted and bit his lip in characteristic fashion as he said: “Now she is all alone,” to his adviser. He had spent three hours alone with Angela Merkel in Hotel Adelon in Berlin. It was late November 2016. Donald Trump had just been elected the 45th president of the US and Obama was worried as he prepared to leave office. Only one individual, he thought, could keep the liberal world order alive while America was taking leave of its geopolitical senses. And that person was the German chancellor.

But Merkel had decided not to seek another term after the German federal elections in September 2017. Obama was in the German capital to make her change her mind. He succeeded. Merkel was persuaded that it was her duty to carry on the baton of liberal internationalism, free trade and democracy. At least for the next four years.

“I noticed a tear in her eye as we left,” Obama’s speechwriter Ben…

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