NATO's Brussels summit was tense, for lack of a better term, and a "very difficult" G7 summit in Italy, by Angela Merkel's standards. Then there was the beer tent in Bavaria, where Merkel announced that "Germany could no longer rely on its long-standing partners." These partner's include Brexit-Britain and Donald Trump's America.
So what does this mean? Well, the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, arrived in Europe shortly after all of the aformentioned swells in politics. The prime minister arrived after Merkel's words about Germany's relationships met "with more fanfare abroad than they were in Germany's domestic press," according to the BBC.
Almost as if her decision was a "deft piece of electioneering" and not something done for attention.
Merkel says she is prepared to stand up to Trump, who tweeted his past criticisms about Germany last Tuesday. Just so, the German business community has decided it is time to make friends elsewhere.
We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for U.S. This will change— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2017
But Germany exports more to the U.S. and the U.K. than any other country in the world, so those partnerships will have to be maintained.
Although Merkel exchanged some "warm handshakes, photo-ops, and memorandums" with prime minister Narendra Modi, the EU is still a fair distance from signing a free trade agreement with India.
Germany's trade fairs are awash with "enthusiastic Chinese delegations." The Chinese premiere is even scheduled to visit later this week, after years of Germany trying to build a relationship with Xi Jinpin's administration.
Unfortunately, Germany's enthusiasm for fresh relations with powers outside of the United States and the United Kingdom mean that its "rather traditional businesses are lagging behind in areas such as digital innovation, and are slow to adapt to the fluid working practices of a globalised world." Germany needs youthfull partnerships to help it move forward into a new era, and so far Merkel does not think those steps can be made with the current pool.
Germany's own economy is booming while its infrastructure crumbles. German companies are coming up short in filling their job openings, and schools are sorely underfunded. One reason is the German-made Volkswagen, which severely damaged the "Made in Germany" brand after its "clean energy transition" failed. Greenhouse gases increased, and Germany's reliance on lignite, one of the dirtiest coals, strengthened.
Germany had hoped to bring about one million electric cars to its streets.
It doesn't help that Germany has an "antipathy to debt," and wants to balance the checkbooks instead of helping the public through investment and growth.
Merkel is working to get re-relected for "a record fourth term," but these issues could be the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak. Germany's benefits are not as widespread as they could be, and this could severely impact her chances.
Germany may come to find that its partnerships will matter more in the days to come.