Liberals hoping Angela Merkel will become the next “leader of the free world” are likely to be disappointed. The outcome of the German election later this month will not allow her to claim such a role, if she even aspired to it, I argue in a post for the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Geopoliticus blog.
Despite Brexit, Donald Trump and Russia’s resurgence in the East, Germans remain wary of raising defense spending. Opinions are divided about Germany’s participation in counter-Russian deployments in the Baltic states. Many voters still hope that Europe might reach an understanding with Russia. And Vladimir Putin is trusted more than Trump.
Whether or not Merkel can move the needle on these issues depends on which party, or parties, will end up in her next government. The thing to watch on September 24 will not be the scale of Merkel’s victory, but rather the performance of her juniors. That will determine if liberal internationalists sleep well that night or go to bed worrying.
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