They are both calm, cool and collected.
Neither are prone to melodrama; rather, they look for practical solutions. And they have both demonstrated maturity by getting past a nasty spat prompted by revelations that the U.S. government was listening in on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s telephone conversations for several years.
The “simpatico” between President Barack Obama and Merkel is evidenced by their body language captured Sunday, the start of the president’s two-day (and last) visit to Germany.
Right off the bat, Obama praised Merkel for sticking to a welcoming policy towards migrants even as Europe capitals have been shaken by deadly terrorist attacks carried out by ISIS:
“What’s happening with respect to her position on refugees here, in Europe. She is on the right side of history on this,” he said. In return, officials say Obama hopes to get more support to fight ISIS militants, and for a trade deal with the European Union.
As the president winds down his two-terms in office, he seems driven to secure America’s best friends and raise the public discourse during a particularly pugilistic election season that will determine his successor.
How Obama and Merkel Learned to Love One Another
Kevin Liptak – CNN
Officials say similarities in each leader’s personality and disposition have led to a bond that’s withstood a litany of challenges during their tenures. Early in Obama’s administration, Merkel reportedly expressed doubts about the young president….
So too have Obama and Merkel been sharply at odds over austerity versus growth models in reviving the global economy, a disagreement that persists even though they have so far staved off a global depression.But both are cerebral realists, each relatively cold-eyed about the challenges their countries face, and their friendship emerged from those disagreements intact.
International Odd Couple: How Obama and Merkel Forged a Special Bond
Greg Jaffe – The Washington Post
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was asked Sunday to reminisce about her fondest moments with President Obama during the seven years of his presidency.
Her short, remarkably unsentimental answer explains why she has become Obama’s closest overseas ally and the president’s political and ideological soul mate on critical issues such as Syria, terrorism and containing Russian aggression in Ukraine.
More than most American presidents, Obama disdains what he regards as needy, showboating allies. Merkel is most definitely neither.
Obama’s Latest Pivot — to Europe
Michael Crowley – Politico
Barack Obama planned to pivot to Asia, escape the Middle East, reboot with Latin America and elevate Africa. Europe, he hoped, would take care of itself. No such luck….
Obama came to office believing that “Europe had to think of itself as our partner, rather than us worrying about the security of Europe itself — which had been the preoccupation of the U.S. for a century,” said Dan Hamilton, a State Department official under President Bill Clinton who is now at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies…. But with the Islamic State menacing Europe from within and Vladimir Putin threatening it from without, the preoccupation is back.