Angela Merkel stresses that she is a friend of the United States and wants Washington to play "a strong role in the world"—but ahead of the G20 summit this week, the German chancellor has emerged as the strongest and most unwavering opponent of Barack Obama's call for a global stimulus. In an interview with the New York Times, she once again refused to support any further deficit spending, and she called on Obama to beware growing American debt.
While Merkel diplomatically suggested that Obama will receive a warmer welcome in Europe than George W. Bush, she underscored that "international policy is, for all the friendship and commonality, always also about representing the interests of one’s own country." The chancellor, who faces a reelection battle this fall, wants new financial regulation to be the focus of the international meeting. "Otherwise," she said, "we run the risk of already preparing the next crisis."