The New York TimesThe New York Times

Germany’s ‘Invisible’ Chancellor Heads to Washington Amid Fierce Criticism

By Katrin Bennhold

06 Feb 2022 · 6 min read

BERLIN — One headline asked, “Where is Olaf Scholz?” A popular magazine mocked the German chancellor’s “art of disappearance.” And his ambassador in Washington wrote home that Germany was increasingly seen as an unreliable ally in a leaked memo that was all the buzz this past week and began with the words: “Berlin, we have a problem.”

With the threat of war hanging over Europe and rising tensions in the standoff with Russia over Ukraine, Scholz is headed to Washington on Monday for his first meeting with President Joe Biden since taking over as chancellor in December. Foremost on his agenda: Show the world that Berlin is committed to the Western alliance — and, well, show his face.

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