1:33 PM 9/24/2017 – Mutti Mitte Merkel and her Iron Mitts | 11:38 AM 9/24/2017 – Clinton Says Angela Merkel Is The Most Important Leader In The Free World

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Image result for mitts meaning

Mutti Mitte Merkel and her Iron Mitts

Extra! Extra! The winner of the U.S. 2016 Presidential elections was Angela Merkel, with the added fringe benefit of the Chancellorship of the World.

See also: Ms. Merkel, and the concept-custom of plausible deniability.

M.N. 9.24.17

Merkel – Google Search

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Story image for Merkel from Washington Post

German Chancellor Merkel on track for 4th term as far right set to …

Washington Post49 minutes ago
BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel was on course to claim a fourth term in office Sunday even as the far right was set to earn seats …
Merkel heads for German poll win, hard-right AfD for first seats
InternationalThe Local Germany10 hours ago
Merkel: Germany’s ‘Mutti,’ Europe’s skipper
OpinionChicago TribuneSep 21, 2017 

Merkel: Germany’s ‘Mutti,’ Europe’s skipper

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Germany’s national election Sunday has all the makings of a fait accompli. Chancellor Angela Merkel is on track to gain her fourth term, which would give her 16 years as Germany’s leader. Martin Schulz, her closest rival and leader of the center-left Social Democrats, is behind in the latest polls by double digits. Merkel’s camp can start chilling the Riesling.

In the meantime, Merkel can start thinking about the road ahead — and it’s fair to say it’ll get bumpy.

More than any other leader, the woman Germans affectionately call “Mutti,” or mother, runs the show in Europe. Germany is the European Union’s heftiest, most vibrant economy, and with Britain Brexiting out of the EU, Merkel’s pragmatic leadership has become the dominant voice on the European stage.

But the rules of the game have changed in the eight months that Donald Trump has been president. Europe can no longer count on the White House the way it did in the pre-Trump era. Merkel publicly acknowledged as much last spring when she told Europeans to “take our fate into our own hands. … The times in which we could rely fully on others — they are somewhat over.”

Merkel said “others,” but she meant the U.S. Trump has upended trans-Atlantic relations, pushing positions that are antithetical to the EU agenda. He has said the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris agreement on climate change, lauded Brexit, promoted protectionist policies and at times showed a vexing admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin leader who digs deep into his toolbox for ways to create fissures in European unity.

It doesn’t help that Europe is more fractured and tenuous than it has been in decades. Great Britain’s departure from the EU takes away the bloc’s second largest economy and leaves it with just one nuclear power, France. To the east, nationalist-minded populist leaders in Poland and Hungary hold power. And the continent is still balancing the accommodation of Middle Eastern and North African refugees with the need to winnow out potential terrorists.

Merkel’s decision to allow as many as a million refugees, primarily from the Middle East, into the country in 2015 made her politically vulnerable, and her popularity dipped. But German officials have since sealed up a major conduit for refugees through the Balkans, and have reimposed border controls. “People are not infused by that feeling any more that this is out of control, that we don’t know what’s going on and who’s coming in,” Germany’s ambassador to the U.S., Peter Wittig, told the Tribune Editorial Board on Thursday. “People now have the feeling that there is an orderly process. And Germans love order.”

Another challenge for Merkel: Turkey has emerged as a major dilemma for Europe as a whole, and Germany in particular. The West recoiled at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s response to last year’s failed coup. After the attempt, Erdogan oversaw a crackdown that jailed 50,000 people and suspended 150,000 from their jobs.

Relations between Germany and Turkey became even more strained last spring, when Erdogan accused German officials of behaving like Nazis after Berlin kept him from campaigning in Germany’s Turkish enclaves ahead of a referendum effectively broadening his presidential powers. Erdogan has since dubbed Merkel’s team “enemies of Turkey.” A NATO member, Turkey also has been edging closer to the Kremlin; it recently bought a surface-to-air missile system from Russia, rankling NATO leaders who see Russia as an aggressive adversary.

Domestically, Merkel likely will have to cope with the emergence of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party, which is expected to garner enough votes in Sunday’s elections to gain several seats in the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament.

In Germany, voters pick a party, not a leader. It’s a party’s performance in the election that decides how many seats it gets in parliament, and who the country’s leader will be. Merkel’s party, the Christian Democratic Union, leads the pack. AfD is fiercely anti-immigration and anti-EU, and at one point during the campaign called for an end to atonement for Germany’s Nazi past. It won’t have enough votes to block Merkel’s agenda, but polls suggest it may get enough support to become the third largest force in parliament.

Americans will be watching keenly how Merkel navigates these shoals, mostly because a strong, united Europe is in America’s best interests. A unified Europe is better fit to tackle terrorism, trade, financial crises, energy policy, immigration and, yes, Russia. We know who wants a weak, fragmented Europe — the shirtless ex-KGB agent to the east.

Join the discussion on Twitter @Trib_Ed_Board and on Facebook.

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1:33 PM 9/24/2017

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