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Merkel state visit: Germany and its leadership deficit

Obama welcomes Chancellor Merkel on the first state visit of a European leader during his term. But tensions challenge the 'indispensable' alliance between the US and Germany.

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As President Obama pursues his goal of sharing America’s global burdens and leadership, who among the European allies could help him most? Could it be Germany’s Angela Merkel?

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has stepped up to the plate on Libya, participating heavily in NATO’s no-fly zone there. But that’s Africa, a French priority. On other issues, Paris can often be mercurial.

In London last month, Mr. Obama had the honor of sleeping at Buckingham Palace and speaking at Westminster Hall during a state visit. That underscores the historic “special relationship” between Britain and the United States.

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