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French President Francois Hollande walks in the Cerny cemetery during a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the Chemin des Dames battle, Cerny-en-Laonnois, France, April 16, 2017 (Sipa via AP Images).

Already Forgotten in France, Hollande Will Be Missed in the Global Arena

Monday, April 17, 2017

Is Francois Hollande the most underrated statesman of his generation? The question might at first glance seem like a mean jibe. The French president is almost a forgotten man these days. His domestic approval ratings were so dire that he chose not to run for a second term.

French voters will start the two-round process of selecting his successor next weekend. The outcome is disturbingly unclear, and the nationalist Marine Le Pen could be the ultimate victor. Even if France picks a more palatable president, Hollande’s exit marks a greater loss for global diplomacy than most analysts recognize. France has managed to maintain an outsized role in multilateral diplomacy and conflict management on his watch. He departs just as his brand of Gallic globalism faces an existential crisis. ...

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