Farewell, Angela Merkel
German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting on August 15, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. (Adam Berry/Getty Images)

Farewell, Angela Merkel

Al-Etihad, UAE, March 18

When Angela Merkel was elected chancellor of Germany in 2005, many questions were raised: Who was this woman who came from obscurity? How can a chemist claim to have the experience needed to lead the German government? The prevailing belief at the time was that choosing Merkel was a fatal political mistake and that the German political community would not tolerate this mistake for long. But Merkel remained at the helm of power for a long time. In fact, she sat in office during the terms of three French presidents: Nicolas Sarkozy, François Hollande, and Emmanuel Macron. She also led Germany during the terms of four American presidents: George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and the beginning of the Joe Biden White House. Merkel would not have been the undisputed leader of Germany all these years if she weren’t an exceptional woman. In fact, Merkel’s exceptional leadership first showed in her dealings with the Greek financial crisis in 2010. Then, in preserving the Eurozone and protecting the European Union from collapse. Merkel managed to succeed in the world of men. Furthermore, she was able to inspire and strengthen other female European politicians. While many developing countries saw the rise of women to key positions of power – for example, Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan and Indira Gandhi in India – the Western world has lagged far behind. It wasn’t until Margaret Thatcher that Britain had a female prime minister. In the United States, no woman has been elected president yet. But Merkel stood out. She was always a strong female leader in a room full of male heads of government. And she was never shy to defend her policy positions – whether they were about maintaining close ties with former Warsaw Pact states, resisting the dangerous policies of Donald Trump, or working to strengthen NATO. Now, as Merkel prepares to pack her bags and leave the chancellorship, she can rest assured knowing that her policies have worked: with Moscow and Warsaw on the East, with Brussels on the West, and with Washington across the Atlantic. –Muhammad Al-Sammak (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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