BERLIN -- Tsipras squandered Greece's opportunity, because he and other Syriza leaders were unable to see beyond the horizon of their party's origins in radical opposition activism. They did not understand the difference between campaigning and governing. Realpolitik, in their view, was a sellout. Of course, it is precisely the acceptance of necessity that marks the difference between government and opposition.
For the moment what matters for the vast majority of Greek people is that for the first time they feel they have a government which, despite its compromises, has proved that it made its best effort to bring Europe back to the table for a fair and equal negotiation about the terms of the Greek bailout program.
The Greeks have deactivated the switch that threatened to blow Europe sky high. Antonis Samaras's New Democracy party victory in Greece does not in and of itself solve Athens' problems, nor those plaguing the rest of Europe's capitals. The boxer is still on the ropes, but the bell has been rung, ending the round; and that gives Europe time to recover, though it will have to keep fighting. In addition this week, if seen as part and parcel to what happened in Greece, the result of France's legislative elections and the majority that President Hollande now boasts both act as a serious warning to Angela Merkel in Germany. The message is clear: we are willing to go forward, but the pernicious austerity strategy that is pushing us into the abyss must be reconsidered.