Baerbock and Steinmeier could start shuttle diplomacy

Everyone is talking about war, even nuclear war, that society is getting very worried – but who is talking about diplomacy? So from talking about how peace is possible in our times, as soon as possible? High time to explore everything for it.

And who, if not we, the Germans, are called upon to do so. From our history with the Ukraine, with Russia and the Soviet Union in the background, but also because knowledge about detente policies, about disarmament, arms control and peaceful transformation has grown over the decades that is second to none. With an outstanding diplomatic service and at times outstanding heads of department.

The fact that the 2+4 process for the unification of Germany worked – a masterly idea and achievement in terms of foreign policy – ​​has to do not least with the Foreign Minister at the time, Hans-Dietrich Genscher.

Therefore: Dare more Genscher! How, for example, the CSCE, the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe, became the OSCE, a stable organization, is certainly also thanks to the liberal long-term minister. He often had to overcome many reservations.

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But necessity is the mother of invention, they say. What reminds us in the here and now: Especially in the difficult situation in Europe, it is all the more important to find formats or to use existing ones in which those who otherwise face each other in a wordless and hostile manner can speak.

Don’t be afraid of being accused of naivety! Firstly, everything is conceivable, but not always feasible. Secondly, if you don’t try, you lose a chance of success right from the start. Wanting to clear a path for diplomacy is the way out of, yes, to put it pathetically: downfall.

The atavistic, barbaric must not triumph. From time to time, the relapses into ancient times are becoming more dangerous because of technological advances. But man is a rational being, isn’t he?

Let’s hope. Therefore: It is not just about weapons, but about a ceasefire. What ideas can be heard from the federal government, from the foreign minister? To ask this question is to answer it. Annalena Baerbock’s very own task as foreign minister is not to keep demanding more military equipment. The Secretary of Defense can deal with that.

Nor is it the Foreign Minister’s job to state that the Russians must not gain ground. That’s what the Ukrainians say anyway. But to persuade Moscow to give signals of accommodation.

Troubleshooters in tandem

How can diplomacy with at least a minimal chance of success look like? One idea: the two foreign policy professionals in Germany, the Federal President, who is known around the world for two years as foreign minister, and the current foreign minister, could form a troubleshooter tandem and begin (of course) in government and internationally coordinated shuttle diplomacy. So Genscher would now be permanently in the air.

Because telephone calls à deux are one thing – direct conversations are another. Both must complement each other, work together. Constant dripping wears away the hardest stone. One hopes.

The “Normandie” format, (co-)invented by Frank-Walter Steinmeier, was one for conversations. Is it possible to still work there? Or use the OSCE to lure Russia into broadly discussing common security from the Atlantic to the Urals in the framework? Or should the minimum demands in Kyiv and Moscow be continuously checked – adapted to the situation – and compared with the help of the members of the UN Security Council?

Or, or, or: the main thing is that the debate doesn’t dry up. A discussion format with the Federal President in Bellevue Palace, with him as the moderator, could also stimulate this. Not as a stage for atonement, but because peace is more than an idea.

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