John Kornblum, a former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, who still lives in Berlin, said, “If you cross her, you end up dead. There’s nothing cushy about her. There’s a whole list of alpha males who thought they would get her out of the way, and they’re all now in other walks of life.”

German politics was entering a new era. As the country became more “normal,” it no longer needed domineering father figures as leaders. “Merkel was lucky to live in a period when macho was in decline,’ Ulrich said. “the men didn’t notice and she did. She didn’t have to fight them—it was aikido politics.” Ulrich added, “If she knows anything, she knows her macho. She had them for her cereal.”

-After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Angela Merkel went from unknown East German scientist to the most powerful woman in the world, a rise due to equal parts analytical ability, political tactics, and patient opportunism. George Packer details the incredible evolution in The New Yorker.

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