The German chancellor doesn’t just hop on a plane and take a trip. Before Angela Merkel gets underway, delegation lists are carefully drawn up, elaborate travel booklets are printed. Advisers hold background meetings to establish the focus of the trip. And of course there is always a detailed bulletin on what sort of weather to expect.
And there is always another travelling companion for Ms. Merkel – and that is the world’s attention. This is especially true at the moment as Ms. Merkel is auditioning for the role of “leader of the free world”, taking positions diametrically opposed to those of the US president, Donald Trump. The fact that, for the first time in her term in office, the chancellor was paying a visit to Argentina was just about as much excitement as her followers could handle. Her plan to fly on to Mexico at the weekend almost caused them to hyperventilate with excitement.
In Berlin, people were asking when the date for this visit had been set. Was it a provocation that Ms. Merkel would pay her respects to a country whose inhabitants Mr. Trump has described as rapists, and who he wants to keep out of the US with a giant wall?