It was three little words that revolutionized the landscape of global politics, and decimated America’s position as leader of the free world this week: “We’re getting out.” These were Donald Trump’s words regarding the Paris Climate Agreement. With this, after losing the popular vote to a woman in America, Donald Trump immediately lost the popular vote to two women abroad, as well as every world leader signatory on the Paris Climate Agreement.
However, specifically the women he is now losing to are Angela Merkel from Germany, and Theresa May from the United Kingdom. They are now ranked higher than Donald Trump on the world stage and are very quickly becoming the leaders of the free world. They both bring completely different leadership styles to the table, and one is rising even well above the other.
Angela Merkel and Theresa May don’t hold this torch alone. In this new world, world leaders share the guts, and the glory, together. Just not it seems, with Donald Trump, who really hates losing to a girl.
He also hates being told what to do by a girl. When it came to the Paris Climate Accord, Angela Merkel tried to reason with him. He wasn’t having it. Theresa May was asked to; she wasn’t going anywhere near that.
Theresa May, although a long-time politician with a healthy and robust career of accomplishments, has a long way to go in her infamous leopard print kitty heels. She still, however, is making her country proud, and women as well across the United Kingdom and the world.
Leading the pack in the free world however is Angela Merkel that is rising to the top of the chain. And she’s not afraid of men like Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin.
We’re talking about a woman who once hinted Vladimir Putin was a tiny man that needed to prove himself in her presence. She’s not the type that becomes flapped or flustered by the flapping and flustering of men, and she never will be.
In the recent foreign trip taken by many world leaders, including Donald Trump representing the United States, it became apparent to world watchers everywhere who had what it took to lead on the world stage.
Angela Merkel flitted on the world stage with a strong but firm presence, and a palpable kindness that was unparalleled. Donald Trump, as the Guardian notes, “shambled around Europe with his goon display of ignorance of other languages, cultures, or even basic manners, Merkel was in her element.”
Where Trump lacked stamina and moved people aside to stride to the front of the line, Angela Merkel strode out with other leaders. She, along with Theresa May, blended. He didn’t.
It was at that moment when the world began to grasp the realities of who was leading the free world now, and who wasn’t. It was just days later when Donald Trump said, “we’re getting out” where the deal on the passing of the free world torch was meritoriously clinched.
It’s a new world. It’s a new free world. Where the press and freedom and civil liberties and the first amendment are mocked daily in America, and dark tales of corruption swirl Congressional hearings about Russia, the rest of the free world is getting on with business. They don’t have time for the guy pushing himself to the front of the line. Freedom and a clean world is at stake, and there’s no time for ego.
Theresa May said that she was disappointed by Donald Trump’s move to take the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord. It was a statement that paled in comparison to every other world leader in the agreement.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau slammed the American federal government specifically in his own targeted verbal attack. He noted that he would continue to work with Americans that believe in climate change.
France President Macron said, life goes on, we will make this planet great again.
Angela Merkel kicked off her elections campaign for a September election with some harsh words pointed at America. Germany has been green for years, and even has, for years, outlawed the running of cars idling in a driveway. What many North Americans do not know is that Germany takes climate change almost as seriously as they take terrorism.
But the Paris Climate Accord is more than an agreement about climate change, it is as Angela Merkel said in her campaign launch, an agreement about global cooperation. Donald Trump says, “I only care about America, and hello Pittsburgh.” Angela Merkel says, that is “utterly regrettable, and that is me choosing very restrained language.”
“The decision of the United States to pull out of the Paris agreement is utterly regrettable, and that is me choosing very restrained language. The Paris agreement continues to be one of the corner stones of global cooperation. And this agreement is indispensable to reach the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This is why it is necessary now, after this announcement by the United States Administration yesterday evening, to turn our attention to the future. His decision must not and will not deter any of us who feel beholden to the protection of our Earth.”
As the Globe and Mail notes, the subtext in the aftermath of an awkward weekend of NATO summits and G7 meetings, promptly followed by Donald Trump’s Paris Accord announcement is clear: The world needs less America.
The world is utterly and regrettably disappointed that America is not one of the cool kids anymore. But there is work to be done and the global business is moving on just fine without America.
Theresa May is only marginally primed to take a position as free world leader. Right now she is still getting a lot of criticism for not talking Trump off of the Paris Agreement ledge of legacy destruction. If she wants more respect in the world, May is going to have to take the same strong stance other world leaders are unafraid to: Against Trump, but not against America.
A critical distinction is being made in the geopolitical landscape right now. At the G7 Summit, Donald Trump referred to the Canadian Prime Minister as “Justin from Canada.” Well, “Justin from Canada” pointed his remarks after the Paris Climate Accord speech by America right at the federal government.
Please read my statement on the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement: https://t.co/KHm4q80Uc0— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 1, 2017
In so doing, and in authentic Justin Trudeau style, he said many things in few words. Justin’s statements meant, “Dear America, we know it’s not you, it’s him, we stand with you.”
With that, Justin Trudeau is aligning himself with the new free world leaders. And those free world leaders are aligning themselves right back.
In contrast, Theresa May is not doing anything about Donald Trump. This could be her downfall. The Independent reported that 84 percent of her own constituents wanted May to intervene with Donald Trump on the Paris Climate Accord. She didn’t.
But even so, she’s still ahead of his game as leading the free world. However, if she wants to keep that torch, she’s going to have to take a position, and soon.
Theresa May is seeing some slips in the polls and is becoming associated as the third rung in a Trump-May-Putin triangle. This is a dangerous position for her. When it comes to women leading the free world, the front-runner is clearly Merkel who by all reports stands to continue in her position past the September elections.
Merkel also sees the greater global picture and is poised to not only maintain her position in Germany but in the free world. She’s not being shy about it either. After Donald Trump’s speech on the Paris Agreement, she said, “we can’t rely on that ally anymore.” She also said before that speech, “We Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands.”
As the Globe and Mail notes, that was Angela Merkel saying, “The world needs less America, business goes on.”
As Donald Trump puts America first, and only it seems, Angela Merkel is sending a different message to the world with the phrasing of “we” meaning Europe and the rest of the free world. She isn’t blustery and loud like some leaders, she is like most other free world leaders, calm, quiet, and methodical. But don’t mistake that for inhibited and reticent.
She’ll send a zinger out when she needs to, and she’s not intimidated by powerful men. In fact, she sends messages to them that maybe they aren’t as powerful as they like to think. It’s exactly what she did with Donald Trump this week, and he’s not the first man she’s sent slings to.
When Vladimir Putin learned that Angela Merkel was afraid of dogs, before their first meeting in 2007, he decided it would be appropriate to bring a Labrador with him in an attempt to rattle her. How gallant! Was Vladimir Putin so afraid of this quietly spoken feminist that he needed a dog to hide behind?
That’s how Angela Merkel saw it. The Guardian notes her response was, “I understand why he has to do this – to prove he’s a man…he’s afraid of his own weaknesses.”
So when you see President Macron at summits like NATO, swerving from Donald Trump to Angela Merkel to shake hands first, now you know why. He, and other world leaders alike, know who is the one wearing the pants in the global family.
Just don’t call Angela Merkel a feminist. At NATO, when she was asked if she was a feminist, Ivanka Trump raised her hand in an attempt that looked like, “That’s me! Pick me! I’m the feminist!”
And thus effectively proved that she wasn’t one. This is not what feminists do.
Angela Merkel once again, showed how it’s done. Her response to “are you a feminist” was, “If you think that I am one, go and vote on it.”
Theresa May is very much on this same page but has some work to do. But Angela Merkel has a science background and grew up in a section of Germany where women work their entire lives. And in this section of the world, they aren’t asking for a trophy for it. It’s about getting work done, and not about begging to be at the front of the line for it.
The truest leaders of the free world today are the unassuming ones, that have a job to do and need to get it done. That is not Donald Trump. But, after having been beat by a woman in his own homeland, the women of the world are rising above him to teach him a lesson or two on that.
And above all of them, Angela Merkel is rising to the top of the free world. Theresa May has a chance to join her, but needs to strengthen her message, and soon.
Until then, Angela Merkel is happy to hold the free world spot for now in a new world where the leader is a collective. Although who is at the top, or being labeled a feminist, is not Angela Merkel’s concern. It’s the work.
Angela Merkel doesn’t see problems, she sees work that just needs to get done. It’s exactly what stable free world leadership, and feminism, looks like.
[Feature Image by Michael Sohn/AP Images]