Attack Against Nord Stream 2 Renewed with Vigor: Whose Interests Does It Meet?

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Attack Against Nord Stream 2 Renewed with Vigor: Whose Interests Does It Meet?

Written by Alex Gorka; Originally appeared on strategic-culture.org

Economics dictate national interests. Foreign policy is the tool used to advance it. Moscow has to fight back on all fronts, but the truth is that Washington does not care much about chemical attacks in Eastern Ghouta, the Salisbury poisoning, election meddling, or so many other fairy tales used to justify its anti-Russia policy. These are just pretexts to promote US economic interests abroad.

Gas exports to Europe present exciting opportunities but supplies from Russia are cheaper and more reliable. So the US needs to get rid of the obstacle in its way — the Nord Stream 2 (NS2) pipeline, which will carry natural gas from Russia to Germany. Washington will do anything to achieve this cherished goal.

On March 15, a bipartisan group of 39 senators led by John Barrasso (R-WY) sent a letter to the Treasury Department. They oppose NS2 and are calling on the administration to bury it. Why? They don’t want Russia to be in a position to influence Europe, which would be “detrimental,” as they put it. Their preferred tool to implement this obstructionist policy is the use of sanctions. Thirty-nine out of 100 is a number no president can ignore. Powerful pressure is being put on the administration. Even before the senators wrote their letter, Kurt Volker, the US envoy to Ukraine, had claimed that NS2 was a purely political, not commercial, project. No doubt other steps to ratchet up the pressure will follow.

Their loyal friends in Europe chimed in almost simultaneously with the US lawmakers. Polish Foreign Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has proven himself to be a master at telling horror stories about the scariest things that might happen once the pipeline is up and running. On March 2, the speakers of parliament in Ukraine and Moldova signed a letter addressed to the chairs of the parliaments of the EU countries, warning about the repercussions. This is “a destabilizing factor” that will weaken Europe, they exclaim. Of course it is. Paying more for gas brought in on ships that can change course to head for a new destination if the price of gas elsewhere becomes more alluring will naturally make Europe stronger. Good reasoning!

On March 11, the leaders of the parliaments of Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania signed another open letter to the parliaments of the EU states to warn them against the construction of NS2. It’s not a commercial project, they say, it’ll make you dependent on Russia. “Gazprom … is not a gas company but a platform for Russian coercionaffirms Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a former head of NATO who now works as a consultant for Ukraine. Estonia has also joined the choir as one of the strongest critics of Nord Stream. The European Commission opposes the project too, but lacks the legal grounds to prevent private investment from flowing in.

Europe needs this commodity and Russia sells it. What makes this “not a commercial deal”? Dependence? From this perspective, any customer who makes a choice then becomes “dependent” on the vendor. Who is keeping them from getting gas from other sources? The sea lanes are all open, if they need to use them. Poland and Lithuania have already built terminals for liquefied gas. But it’s more expensive and the prices in the Asia Pacific region make that market more attractive. To woo US shale-gas exporters Europeans will have to pay more. Don’t they have the right to choose what suits them best?

As practice shows, writing letters is not enough. There are “stubborn” leaders at the helms of some European states who dare to put their national interests first. Just think about it! If “America First” is fine as a slogan, then what’s wrong with an “Austria First” policy? One daring young man who is protecting the interests of his country is Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. He openly supports the Nord Stream 2 project. And he is not alone. Germany continues to back it despite the pressure. Chancellor Angela Merkel believes that the NS2 project “poses no danger to diversification.” The German-based think tank ewi Energy Research & Scenarios has estimated that the project “has a price decreasing and welfare enhancing effect in the EU-28 overall.”

But Washington could not care less about its allies, which is clear from its opposition to this project. Its interests are self-centered. The US is not only promoting its liquefied gas supplies in Europe but is also trying to make it easier to pay for its plan to keep Ukraine in its orbit to use as a springboard right on the Russian border. Nord Stream 2 will make the gas-transit route via Ukraine redundant, depriving that country of much of the €1.8 billion (nearly 2% of its GDP) it earns annually in transit fees. The blow to the Ukrainian economy would undercut the US and EU’s financial support for Kiev. In addition, the revenue from NS2 would mean profits for Russia, thus softening the impact of the West’s sanctions. The European countries that vehemently oppose NS2 also want the US military based on their soil. And even if that presence is already there, they want more of it.

Europe is split over a lot of issues, but in the EU, NATO, and the Council of Europe there is a pro-American camp ready to dance to the US tune. And Poland and the Baltic States are happy campers. Whatever happens, they’ll snap to attention, click their heels, salute, and do as they’re told by Washington. As a result, their taxpayers will pay for US weapons although less costly and more efficient systems could be acquired elsewhere. And it is the ordinary people who’ll have to shell out for US shale gas shipped by sea instead of the much cheaper supplies coming from Russia. It’s just as simple as that. European taxpayers will have to pay for this “America First” policy unless the governments of such European states as Germany and Austria stand tall and refuse to bow to pressure.

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  • velociraptor

    As i read here again and again, Russia does not need EU. It is able to sell better in Asia. So, why this nervosity?

    • Ricky Miller

      I totally agree. Russia should ship pipeline gas to Europe only on Nord Stream 1, Yamal through Belarus and Poland and both Turkish/Black Sea pipelines. The future is in a gas thirsty Asia. Russian LNG gas can be sold at Northern German ports still slightly cheaper than LNG shipped all the way from the far side Atlantic. Cut Ukraine out of Russian gas altogether or at least until they fully implement the Minsk agreement and pass legislation granting full autonomy to Luhansk and Donetsk.

      • Sinbad2

        I don’t think the main US concern is about selling American gas to Europe, it’s about making sure the US gets a cut of the money, by ensuring that the gas is sold in US dollars, and the US has the power to control the flow, and therefore control Europe.

    • Sinbad2

      Well it’s a bit more complicated than that.
      Russia has huge gas fields in western Russia, and in Eastern Russia.
      Pumping gas from west to east would be silly.

      However in the long run, if the EU does not buy gas piped in from Russia, European companies will build their factories in Russia.

    • HighLord Gaz

      Why concede the market to the Muricans? Under-cut them with a cheaper and more reliable product, and listen to them caper and howl like retarded monkeys!

  • Michał Hunicz

    As a Pole, I need to say that this kind of sanction for Poland from Russia is a punishment for our stupidity. “Our media” are claiming that we must stay ready in case of Russian invasion. The Freemasonry also says that it is all fine when Israel protests against our act about punishing people for terms like “Polish Holocaust” or “Polish death camps”. And Russians shouldn’t trust Germans, they only want Mitteleuropa.

    • Mish

      What sanction for Poland? Does Russia threaten to cut Polish gas supply? I don’t think so. Secondly, sorry, but we’ll trust the Germans over you guys anytime. Nothing personal.

  • Serious

    Putin is stupid. Always complaining about shit.

    First : ovearm Syria and Iran so that gas and oil from the gulf states don’t come to Europe. NOT DONE.
    Second : invade east and south Ukraine to stop the building of pipeline. NOT DONE.
    Third : Stop exporting gas and oil to Europe and let their economy collapse. NOT DONE.

    Conclusion : Putin is stupid. USA is invading Syria, will destroy Iran and invade Ukraine. USA will build a pipeline to Europe. Europe will stop buying russian oil and gas. Russia economy will collapse and not Europe economy.

    • Robert

      It does not feel like a good plan. Good plan is to make business with Europe and reduce influence of US, what hopefully will happen.

      • Serious

        Very bad plan. The only way to reduce US influence is to nuke USA.

        • Robert

          Every empire destroys itself sooner or later. Russia just needs to be patient and careful until it happens.

          • Serious

            No time. Don’t have time to wait for 5000 years.

          • Sinbad2

            5 years tops, and the US is dead meat.

        • Sinbad2

          What would be the point of nuking the USA, very little of the US military is in the USA.
          The way to kill America, is to bankrupt it, the Americans will then kill each other.

      • as

        Nah even before geopolitics considered it’s much more economically sane.

    • Sinbad2

      The US wants to control energy supplies to Europe, so it takes over Ukraine, stops South Stream, and plans to build a pipeline from Qatar to Europe. The pipeline from Qatar would go through Syria.
      So Russia moves into Syria and stops the American pipeline.

      All wars are about money.

  • Serious

    “They oppose NS2 and are calling on the administration to bury it. Why?
    They don’t want Russia to be in a position to influence Europe”

    Where did you see that Russia is influencing Europe ?? XD. Russia provides oil and gas and Europe makes sanctions against Russia. XD.

  • Serious

    Putin is burrying Russia, Russians, Syria and everybody. He is only pretending to be an alternative but, in fact, he is working with the globalists.

    • Robert

      It is possibility. Time will show who he really is.

      • Serious

        The time you understand who he is, it will be too late. Why always do we have to see what happen ? Americunts did the same with Trumpf. They said that Trumpf is the “savior”. The result is that Trumpf is a big shit.

        So, don’t understand why to wait. We have waited too much and Putin is loosing in every domain. The situation is getting worst day after day.

        • Robert

          I can’t change much, so only thing for me is to watch and prepare for the worst. Yes, things are not as I would wish them to be, but they are not bad either. I’m not panicing yet. Americans look indeed stronger, especially recently, but they are weak. Putin is stronger than he looks on the other hand. Let’s see how things go.

        • Sinbad2

          Trump won because Clinton is a total C.
          Any other candidate would have beaten Trump easily.

    • Sinbad2

      If he was working with the globalists, he wouldn’t be stockpiling gold.
      The whole western system is based on banks being able to create money out of thin air, gold is antimatter to western currencies.
      There is only one money, gold, the rest are just IOU’s.

    • HighLord Gaz

      Quit singing your BS song… no-one is listening, let alone buying it…

  • velociraptor
  • as

    Before there’s some zombie here that claim Russia are being coercive and by selling their gas to Europe they created a stranglehold of Europe and being unfriendly.
    I said to him well why buy gas from US if their price are higher and at longer delivery time ?
    What’s his response ? I SENSE A PUTIN TROLL ! Oh no I’ll be hacked ! Crazy zombie…

  • as

    Before there’s some zombie here that claim Russia are being coercive and by selling their gas to Europe they created a stranglehold of Europe and being unfriendly.
    I said to him well why buy gas from US if their price are higher and at longer delivery time ?
    What’s his response ? I SENSE A PUTIN TROLL ! Oh no I’ll be hacked ! Crazy zombie…

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  • Serious

    It’s like Trumpf. People were saying that Trumpf is the “savior”, he likes Putin and will not make war against Syria. That he will “drain the swamp”. XD.

    I said the exact oppiste. Result is that I was right.

    I even heard some people saying that he was against israel after his speech at AIPAC. XD. It’s amazing how people want to believe what they want but don’t want to believe the actual facts.

    People don’t believe in facts. That’s why 80% is stupid.

  • Carol Davidek-Waller

    What makes the U.S. Legislature think they have any control over a gas pipeline in Europe or Russia? Delusion, hubris or both?

    • Ma_Laoshi

      A long track record of near-hegemonic influence in Europe’s affairs, and an astute observation that they’re dealing with a useless continent of whores and slaves. (The latter I mean rather literally by the way: countries like Ukraine, Romania, and the Baltics have a nonzero portion of their economy based on prostitution; US military facilities tend to be … compatible with that interest.) This is not about anything as quaint as rights, but about power–and Europe is weak by design.

    • Sinbad2

      Megalomania.