Angela Merkel's Plan To Combat Globalization's Challenges Is Radically Different From Trump's

Her first speech of the year makes that crystal clear.

Populist movements sweeping the west have yet to wrest power from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the "liberal west's last defender," but it certainly changes the dynamic of the election later this year as she seeks a fourth term. Speaking at a church in the city of W├╝rzburg on Monday, Merkel emphasized Germany's values of openness and acceptance, even as populist politicians continue to clamp down on what many see as the unrelenting forces of globalization. 

Despite some pining for a "return to a small world," Merkel cautioned that the solution was not to isolate Germany. "We won't get anywhere by trying to solve problems with polarization and populism," she said. "We've got to show that we're committed to the basic principles of our nation."

Reuters noted that Merkel had not mentioned Donald Trump by name, but it was clear that she was providing a counterstrike to the tide of populism that lifted him to power in the U.S., and pushed the U.K. out of the European Union. Though having never met, Trump and Merkel have exchanged criticisms and are not expected to get along as well as she did with President Obama. This past weekend, Trump called Merkel's refugee policy an "utterly catastrophic mistake." He has also avoided saying if he trusts Vladimir Putin or Merkel more, a move that likely has not endeared him to the German leader. 



Istvan Csak / Shutterstock
Istvan Csak / Shutterstock

Germany is, for the most part, the last remaining bastion of liberal western values, and many are looking to Merkel to combat the rising populism that has legitimized xenophobia and intolerance. And her speech on Monday, her first in 2017, marks a course of action that many are counting on her to stick to.

Cover image via Drop of Light / Shutterstock

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