Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia August 5, 2022. Turkish Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

The first rule of international diplomacy is: silence is silver, speech is gold. Germany must negotiate with the Taliban to get former local workers out of Afghanistan. Representatives of the United Nations World Food Program have to negotiate with the terrorist militia al-Shabab in Somalia, which controls parts of the country, so that a famine can be averted. The EU must act as a mediator between the US and Iran in order to stop the mullahs from building a nuclear bomb through a deal.

Opinion ethicists who argue between “don’t want to”, “save face”, “offer no platform” turn against discussions of this kind. Dictators are being upgraded, they are being given legitimacy, preserving their own values ​​is more important than achieving results through compromise. Appeasement is then quickly spoken of, recalling the Munich Agreement of 1938. In this reading, dialogue and diplomacy are seen as a sign of weakness, if not as camaraderie with the forces of evil.

When Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock was in Ankara recently, she banged on a bit. She sued for the observance of human rights and sided with Athens in the dispute with Greece. That was not well received on the Turkish side.

Because a week earlier, the grain agreement had been signed by Turkey, the UN, Russia and Ukraine. In sometimes tough negotiations, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan managed to overcome deep mutual distrust and lay the foundation for unhindered grain exports from Ukraine and Russia. Earlier, Russian blockades and Ukrainian mining of Black Sea ports had sparked fears of a severe global hunger crisis.

If Baerbock had recognized the priorities, she should have made this great diplomatic success the focus of her visit, combined with an explicit thank you to Erdogan.

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, can thank her President, Joe Biden. While the crisis her visit to Taiwan triggered is far from over, there is good reason to believe that Biden’s two-hour video call earlier with China’s ruler, Xi Jinping, was a preliminary de-escalation of the situation .

Biden opposed Pelosi’s visit, he will have told Xi. Because the US President knows how dangerous an escalation reinforced by misunderstandings would be. China is building extremely advanced drones that Russia could use. Does it really make sense to use gestures that are perceived as a provocation to tie Beijing even closer to Moscow? If the Taiwan crisis does not end well, it will also be thanks to Biden’s prudent diplomacy.

What is right and just? What is necessary and possible? These questions must always be considered together by those involved in international politics. This includes assessing one’s own resources realistically. For example, the phalanx of those who, just a few weeks ago, were still pleading for a gas embargo by Germany towards Russia has become fairly quiet. You know why.

30 years ago, the West, in the form of the G-7 countries, was responsible for two-thirds of the goods produced on the world market. Today the share is 44 percent. The assumption that the rest of the world needs the West more than the West needs the rest of the world “is less true these days,” writes The Economist. How else should the climate catastrophe be averted than through cooperation, dialogue and diplomacy?

Silence is silver, speech is gold, stubbornness is tin. The Turkish and Russian Presidents have now met at Putin’s residence in Sochi. It was the second meeting within a month. Turkey is a NATO member, supports Ukraine with drones, and has blocked airspace for Russian troop transports to Syria. Nevertheless, it should be explored whether the grain agreement can be the beginning of an extended de-escalation diplomacy. It is worth a try.