Merkel sets an example for world leaders.
Summary: In short, she is giving a moral direction to Europe, rather cementing it before she decides to bow out on her terms when the time is right.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in a happy place globally despite troubles at home which saw her party cede space to far-right forces in regional elections. Merkel remains a towering figure in Europe and her popularity continues to surge in world politics because of her humanitarian policies. Opening borders to refugees fleeing strife in Syria wasn't an easy decision three years ago but the chancellor went ahead. She may have paid the price in polls.
The political blow, however, has not dented Merkel's enthusiasm to make the world a better place. What we are seeing is a less dour and subdued chancellor. She's speaking her mind on issues that concern humanity and common people, and leaders cannot afford to ignore what she is saying. That's because she cares, and it shows in policy. She is clearly enjoying her role as the world's tallest stateswoman at this point of her life and career. Thirteen years as German chancellor was a turning point in global politics. Merkel is not going anywhere till 2021. Her place as chancellor is secure and no leader has emerged to challenge her directly at home. The chancellor's legacy is also on the right side of history, yet she is burnishing her credentials, giving it a glow and the spark of imagination that it appeared to lack until now.
In short, she is giving a moral direction to Europe, rather cementing it before she decides to bow out on her terms when the time is right. Her focus is now on promoting a larger vision for Europe, an inclusive and open view. The chancellor is speaking out against populism and nationalism while promoting unity on the continent. She is for a European military that does not have to depend on the US. What such a military would mean for the future of the Nato alliance is unclear, but Merkel is clearly taking the lead after French President Emmanuel Macron mooted the proposal recently. With her legacy in fine fettle, this is Merkel's pitch for greatness. And she deserves support for her initiatives which, if they see fruition, could be a salve for a wounded world.
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