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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has one advantage when she meets Donald Trump to discuss a host of conflicts: expectations she can sway the US president are close to zero. After three days of back-slapping bonhomie with French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump is allotting two hours on Friday for a White House meeting with the leader of Europe’s biggest economy. And the list of US grievances, from Germany’s huge trade surplus and paltry defense spending to a new Russian natural gas pipeline to Europe, mostly defy quick solutions. The same goes for the immediate threat of a trade war between the US and the European Union. German officials say Merkel sees little chance of stopping the tariffs Trump wants to impose on imports of European aluminum and steel on May 1, even as Macron and EU officials suggest he may relent. Stripped of the pomp of Macron’s state visit, Merkel is likely to make her case with the methodical approach that’s a hallmark of her more than 12 years in power. Cappin...

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