New York: Time magazine Wednesday named German Chancellor Angela Merkel as its Person of the Year 2015, hailing her leadership during Europe’s debt, refugee and migrant crises, as well as Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.
“For asking more of her country than most politicians would dare, for standing firm against tyranny as well as expedience and for providing steadfast moral leadership in a world where it is in short supply, Angela Merkel is Time‘s Person of the Year,” wrote editor Nancy Gibbs.
The venerable American magazine lauded Merkel as the indispensable player in managing the prospect of Greek bankruptcy threatening the eurozone, and the migrant and refugee crisis.
Time named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State extremist group, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, America’s Black Lives Matter activists campaigning against inequality against African Americans and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as its runners up.
Trump responded in what else but typically Trumpian fashion.
The bombastic 69-year-old billionaire real estate mogul was unrepentant even as criticism rained down from the White House and as far afield as Ottawa, London and Cairo, where Egypt’s official religious body Dar al-Iftaa denounced his “extremist and racist” comments. Trump has called for banning all Muslims from entering the United States.
So, how did this foreign policy tin drum get to be a runner-up for Time person of the year, which he claims he should have won?
The Economist puts it best in its latest issue to hit the stands: “By far the most common explanation for this strange loyalty was that Mr Trump “tells it like it is”. That seemed to confuse plain language, which Mr Trump is good at (“Listen you motherf***ers, we’re going to tax you 25 percent” is how he would talk to China), with plain speaking. He does not go in for that. Not even he could believe the nonsense he spouts. Yet for most of his supporters, Mr Trump’s larger-than-lifeness bridges the credulity gap.
The person of the year accolade acknowledges what the magazine considers to be the world’s biggest newsmaker, or influential mover.
Since the tradition began in 1927, Merkel is only the fourth woman to win. Last year, healthcare workers treating the Ebola epidemic were honored. In 2013, it was Pope Francis. President Barack Obama has won twice.
Throughout the eurozone crisis, when a battered continent looked to Berlin, Merkel has preached fiscal discipline and kept a tight grip on the nation’s purse strings, soothing the angst of a thrifty populace.