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Merkel-Trump G7 face-off photo headed for history books

AFP  |  Berlin 

An official photo posted by the German showing a determined standing up to an intransigent appears destined for the history books, summing up the deep fractures left by a disastrous summit.

The already iconic picture by Berlin's at the gathering in Canada, Jesco Denzel, set alight when it appeared on Saturday, hours before Trump ripped up the hard-fought summit conclusions in an angry tweetstorm.

The image, which drew comparisons to a Baroque painting, shows Merkel standing at the centre of the image leaning across a table before a seated Trump, his arms crossed in defiance.

Merkel, looking focused or exasperated depending on the viewer's interpretation, is flanked by British and French Emmanuel Macron, their faces largely obscured. of looks on with a world-weary expression.

Many saw a distillation of a crisis of the West in the photograph.

Like virtually all German media, Berlin's daily Tagesspiegel ran the picture prominently and said Trump's caustic tweets upending the summit conclusions had "shaken the West".

Trump "uses to snub American's partners in and the world - is the finished?" Other observers hailed a triumph for the spin doctors in eager to present Merkel as the leading defender of the rules-based global order.

"A for Germany," weekly said on its website of the picture that for most of the weekend seemed to capture the world's imagination.

"In it's not just content that counts but images too." - '1:0 for the US president'.

A winner, however, is of course in the eye of the beholder.

Elisabeth Wehling, a at the at Berkeley, tweeted that the body language clearly pointed to Trump dominating the scene.

"1:0 for the US president! Sitting while the other stands is a classic strategy of gestural framing, to establish one's own authority and propagate it via pictures - it works on global media because it transcends language barriers," she wrote.

US John Bolton, who stands next to Trump in the picture and appears to be saying something to Macron across the table, tweeted the picture during the summit to tout the First message.

"Just another #where other countries expect will always be their bank," he wrote.

"The made it clear today. No more. (photo by @RegSprecher)," crediting Merkel's spokesman's account for the image for good measure.

Regardless of the interpretation, the image succeeded in launching an

Belgian Guy Verhofstadt, who heads the European Parliament's liberal group, chose the tart tagline: "Just tell us what Vladimir has on you. Maybe we can help," in a reference to alleged collusion between Russian Vladimir Putin's and the Trump team to influence the 2016 US

"This looks like an episode of where Trump is about to fire because her strudel marketing plan fell through," US-based tweeted.

Doctored images showed the as a petulant child - including memes with Trump overturning a bowl of noodles on his head or clutching a teddy bear as Merkel sternly looks on.

But the levity couldn't mask a deep sense of unease that the end of the post-war era of transatlantic cooperation was nigh.

Far from taking a victory lap, Merkel told television late yesterday that she found the summit's implosion "sobering and a little depressing" and called it a "momentous step" taken by Trump.

Heiko Maas, whose office for the first time in the history of the republic has reportedly ordered an overhaul of Germany's US policy, went further.

"You can destroy an incredible amount of trust very quickly in a tweet," he said.

"That makes it all the more important that stands together and defends its interests even more offensively. United is the answer to First." Germany, Europe's top economy, finds itself in the sights of the due to its large trade surplus and defence spending criticised as too low by NATO.

Merkel acknowledged in the interview that the moment had arrived for and Europe to rethink their role in the world.

The must develop "a joint strategic culture", she added, "otherwise Europe will be ground up in a world with very strong poles" of power elsewhere.

But with an eye to the trade dispute, she added, "we won't be bamboozled -- we will take action.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, June 11 2018. 18:55 IST