This image, posted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s staff Saturday on Instagram, is an instant classic, and speaks far more than a thousand words about this administration’s relationships with other world leaders—and, let’s face it: the rest of the world.
Lots of people have already pointed out how much it reminds us all of chaotic Renaissance-era paintings and dynamic 1920s illustrations like this one:
So much has changed in America, and yet so much hasn’t pic.twitter.com/x2mthUr4Kc
— Kelvin (@mrchan) June 9, 2018
A few things to notice:
- Merkel is my hero for staring down Trump. Both hands firmly on the table, no polite smile, no patience left. This is the look of a person that has been tested, and pushed to her limits, and is done taking bullshit.
- Merkel is the only woman in this shoulder-to-shoulder circle of leaders. I can see a few women on the fringes, including Theresa May, but Merkel is sternly positioned front and center. Of course, it helps that her own staff took the photo, but her position in the frame is not to be overlooked. The central and assertive presence of a woman must not be taken for granted in spaces of power, even in 2018.
- Trump is not meeting her eye contact. As far as I can tell, he’s looking at Macron. I could speculate as to why, but I won’t. Trump has never handled confrontation well, and I think his body language speaks for itself.
- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cannot believe he has to be involved in this white people nonsense.
- Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japanese deputy chief cabinet secretary, speaks for the people at home:
If you haven’t been keeping up with the news around the summit, I implore you read even a little bit of the news around the two-day meeting. The lack of friendly, cooperative diplomacy between Trump and the U.S.’s closest allies could have very serious ramifications for trade and foreign policy for decades to come.
And, if you’re just in it for the gossip, there is plenty to catch up on. Trump complained about having to travel to Canada days before the summit, and has been passive-aggresively subtweeting at Trudeau for days. Then, when the summit finally started, he showed up late to the meeting on gender equality and then didn’t attend the session about climate change. At all.
This year’s G-7 has something for everyone.