The agreement on the export of Ukrainian grain, which allowed the first shipments to leave Odessa, is a very positive development.

It offers a way out of the global food crisis: it permits Ukraine to empty its warehouses and receive sorely needed revenues and it allows Russia to maintain that it made a good will gesture.

Moreover, it offers Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the satisfaction of claiming that he – and not French President Emmanuel Macron or US President Joe Biden – is the true arbitrator between Moscow and Kyiv.

In fact, the Turkish president speaks the same language as his Russian counterpart. He, too, would like to be proclaimed a life-long president. He, too, dreams of empire: his Ukraine is Turkish Kurdistan.

Erdogan believes that he can achieve his ambitions by blackmailing NATO, invading Syria, threatening Greece, and sending drill ships to the Mediterranean.

However, he is making a mistake.

That is yet another reason that Russia must be defeated in Ukraine: so that everyone will know that violence and trampling over international law cannot be used as means of conducting foreign policy in our era.

That was stated clearly by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, when she warned that it is impermissible for a strong neighbour to attack a weaker one.

That was also the clear, although risky, message of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she visited Taiwan, despite China’s warnings.

Authoritarian leaders can win fleeting victories. In the long term, however, liberal democracy is “condemned” to win.

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