Rosecrans Baldwin in The New York Times on Sarkozy's exit French voters ousted President Nicolas Sarkozy in favor of Socialist candidate François Hollande over the weekend, and many French are happy to see Sarkozy go. "But the French will miss him more than they realize," Baldwin argues. "Beneath the boorishness, the cringe-worthy comments, he transformed how France thinks of the presidency, just as he altered what America thinks of the French." Baldwin describes how the French typically wanted their president to behave, and notes how Sarkozy upended that. The French will lose a character they loved to hate, and Americans will lose a figure to whom they could relate, Baldwin writes. "They may not miss Nicolas Sarkozy now; they may never pine for him to return. They will, however, feel his absence. The temperature will drop. When an object we love to hate is removed, then love is lost, too."
Jerome Cohen in The Washington Post on Chen Guangcheng's luck With a promise from the government that embattled activist Chen Guangcheng can leave China to study abroad, the diplomatic crisis over his fate looks likely to conclude smoothly. Cohen writes, "[T]he role that luck played in Chen's saga is among the things that stand out." Cohen lists a long list of what-ifs that would have resulted in a more probable but less smooth outcome. For instance, Chen could have contacted Chinese friends who would have advised him not to leave the embassy, leading to a bigger standoff between the U.S. and China and perhaps making him a captive there. "I am no Dr. Pangloss who believes that every diplomatic debacle is for the best in this best of all possible worlds. Yet, look how things have turned out!"