All this "Merkel is the new leader of the free world" nonsense obscures a more interesting story: the strange non-death of Old Europe.
Merkel has no interest in becoming "leader of the free world". Indeed, she is (sometimes infuriatingly) hyper-sensitive to domestic opinion.
Yet for nigh-on two decades Anglo-Saxon commentators have been grandly predicting doom and stagnation for the tired old European core.
They have a point: Old Europe is ageing, unemployment-prone, sometimes timid on the world stage and prone to trade- and techno-scepticism.
That, however, is not the whole story. Productivity per hour worked in GER and FR tracks the US rate & is leaving the UK far behind.
Old Europe spends too little on defence. But it spends more than US on aid & environmental priorities and more than the UK on diplomacy.
The Eurozone is recovering. Most notably in Germany (unemployment lower than in US or UK despite higher taxes and more generous welfare).
But also in much of "crisis Europe": France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland all seeing rising confidence, higher growth, unemployment falling.
Rising populism in Old Europe is worrying. But the "political stability story" is messier in an age of Brexit & Trump, Merkel & Macron.
Meanwhile Old Europe continues to ace living-standards measures like child well-being, average hours worked and life expectancy.
So does Old Europe need modernising reforms? Can it learn from the Anglo-Saxons? Absolutely. But there is another side of the story.
Merkel does not run the world. But her stature speaks to the fact that she represents a part of the world that was written off prematurely.