Mrs. Merkel’s … most important audience was the wider German electorate, which goes to the polls on September 24th. The poll surge enjoyed by Martin Schulz, her social democratic rival, is collapsing. But it goosed the CDU/CSU and the chancellor is taking no chances. Among Mr. Schulz’s more resonant talking points are Germany’s internationalist, European vocation — he defines himself as the anti-Trump — and his opposition to Mrs. Merkel’s insistence that German defense spending eventually hit the NATO target of 2% of GDP. Her words today buttressed both flanks. They emphasized that Mrs. Merkel is keenly European but that the country cannot afford to depend indefinitely on the military shield of wayward Anglo-Saxon allies. They reframed and helped disarm two of her opponent’s most potent arguments before the election campaign has even started.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has declined a request to host an event to mark Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, two U.S. officials said, apparently breaking with a bipartisan tradition in place with few exceptions for nearly 20 years.Since 1999, Republican and Democratic secretaries of state have nearly always hosted either an iftar dinner to break the day’s fast during Ramadan or a reception marking the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the month, at the State Department.Tillerson turned down a request from the State Department’s Office of Religion and Global Affairs to host an Eid al-Fitr reception as part of Ramadan celebrations, said two U.S. officials who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly.