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Pipelines Produce Peace and Prosperity So Why Oppose Them?

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Pipelines Produce Peace and Prosperity So Why Oppose Them?

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Written by Brian Cloughley; Originally appeared on strategic-culture.org

Pipelines convey fluids and gas within and between many countries and continents and in addition to making a profit for producers indubitably benefit those for whom the raw materials are destined. In India, for example, the most recent gas pipeline project is going to bring comfort to the neglected peoples of the north-east, as part of the grid being constructed to reach remote locations — which is expensive. So the government has stepped in with hundreds of millions of dollars to help complete the programme.

There are many other success stories about pipelines, but also some controversial instances of construction, as in Canada where some indigenous communities are objecting to a 600 km natural gas line in which some $5 billion is being invested. The benefits to Canada as a whole are potentially immense, but the Wet’suwet’en indigenous people of British Columbia are attempting to shut down the operation and have been joined by activists whose motives may not be altogether benign. These protestors have imposed a blockade of railways that has caused grave disruption to a vast number of passenger and freight services, thereby posing a serious threat to Canada’s overall economy. The protestors’ actions are in essence blackmail, and have wide-ranging effects including the inability of farmers to get their goods to domestic and international markets.

For Canada’s sake it is hoped that the difficulties will be resolved — but at least there is movement because the country’s elected government is determined to act for the people as a whole. There will always be objections to pipelines, and although Canada appears to be especially affected, the sanity of national benefit will probably prevail.

But when it comes to international benefit, notably when Russia is involved, the word sanity does not come readily to mind. Rather, the description of Washington’s moves to block the vastly important Nordstream 2 pipeline could involve such qualifiers as petulant, spiteful and malevolent.

Nordstream 2 is a series of lines intended to convey natural gas from Russia to Germany. It is a logical development stemming from the facts that Russia wants to provide gas and Germany wants to buy it, which led to a mutually acceptable agreement and commitment of many billions of dollars, largely by the firms Uniper and Wintershall of Germany, Royal Dutch Shell, Austria’s OMV and Engie of France in association with Russia’s Gazprom — an impressive example of European pragmatism. Economic benefits to both countries are potentially immense, and in addition the very existence of such a significant collaborative enterprise is an indicator that both nations recognise the advantages of cooperation and economic partnership as against the drawbacks of confrontation and antagonism.

Unfortunately, Washington has a history of preferring confrontation to economic cooperation that might benefit other countries, and has imposed sanctions on Nordstrom 2 with the aim of preventing its completion, which in normal circumstances would have taken place by now. Of the some 1200 kilometres of line underneath the Baltic Sea about 160 km remain to be laid, but for the moment construction has had to be halted.

(President Trump’s is violently against construction of the pipeline and his pronouncement that its completion will make “Germany a captive to Russia” was clear enough, but it is intriguing that at the moment, in the middle of the Nord Stream crisis, the US media reports allegations by the intelligence establishment that “Russia wants to see President Trump re-elected, viewing his administration as more favourable to the Kremlin’s interests.” If they genuinely think that Trump’s attitude to Nord Stream is supportive of Russia, then we have serious problems.)

On February 19 Germany’s economy minister, Peter Altmaier, was reported as taking a positive stance in relation to the pipeline and stating that Germany is “determined and ready” to increase trade with Russia. He made it clear that Germany is understandably opposed to the sanctions imposed by the US Congress in December 2019 and stressed that his country is going to “need more natural gas, not less” as it phases out coal-fired power production over the next years. This movement in support of a less polluted atmosphere is regarded as irrelevant, notably by US Secretary of State Pompeo who has been vocally critical of the pipeline project, which Washington claims will make Europe too dependent on Russian energy supplies.

What is not taken into account is the fact that requirement and supply do not mean vulnerability, because, by definition, bilateral commercial agreements work both ways. Russia needs the cash input from the pipeline just as much as Germany needs the gas that it conveys. There is little possibility that such a mutually beneficial, multi-billion project could be sacrificed by either side, and Trump’s statement about the pipeline has no evidential basis. It was simply another blow struck in the US campaign to split Russia from Western Europe and prevent any sort of amicable liaison, while increasing levels of confrontation by conducting military manoeuvres in the Arctic and in other locations along Russia’s borders. On February 19, for example, Deutsche Welle reported the “largest deployment of US-based forces in Europe in over 25 years,” and of course a “significant part of the troops and equipment are expected to be deployed to Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia” — right along the Baltic Sea, where Nord Strom 2 is being built.

One of the most recent indicators of confrontation was given by Pompeo at the recent Munich Security Conference when he declared that the countries of the West “are collectively winning. We’re doing it together.” His remarks followed the opening address by Germany’s President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who was rather more realistic in stating that “Our closest ally, the United States of America, under the current administration, rejects the very concept of the international community. ‘Great again’ but at the expense of neighbours and partners. Thinking and acting this way hurts us all.”

It is not at all surprising that “Pompeo’s speech was met with silence from his mostly European audience” if only because most of them (but not the Baltic States) want to live in peace with Russia. Washington is encouraging confrontation, but Europe’s important countries prefer trade and cooperation, and there is little doubt that in one way or another Nord Stream 2 will be completed, probably by a Russian pipe-laying vessel currently on the way to the Baltic from the southern hemisphere.

On February 20 Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation quoted the 19th century French economist Claude-Frédéric Bastiat that “When goods do not cross borders, soldiers will.” But it seems that Washington thinks that bombs or the threat of bombing will improve profitability. After all, as Forbes pointed out last year, “now the largest oil and gas producer, we will probably become the largest exporter of both within five years.” And that’s the main reason Washington is so passionate about stopping Nord Strom 2. It all comes down to profit. The military-industrial complex is determined to win.

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  • EveryoneIsBiased

    As a German citizen i can attest: The huge majority sees neither the Gas pipelines nor Russia as a threat to our security.
    Most people see the US as a much bigger threat to world peace.
    Only some our politicians and journalists, who since end of WWII have been “educated” and “briefed” in private clubs like “Atlantik-Brücke” (US gov financed NGOs created to influence our politics and cement US influence) are pushing this PR BS.

    But even many of them dont believe this, as Trump has brought the shady US tactics into the spotlight, where even most loyal US stooges struggle to deny them (OFC these shady US tactics were always there, Trump only made the change to not lie about them and even embrace them publicly).

    In short: This propaganda only hurts the US, as it is much too obvious, and after WWII most Germans see it as one of the worst possible sins and crimes to repeat the nazi Agression against Russia, and a national resposibility to keep the peace with Russia.
    From left to center to right, this is the same for the huge majority of us.
    So, while even spineless Merkel may give some consessions to US for apperance, even she would not fall in line with US propaganda against Russia.
    Which is why the US has used propaganda, to influence Russian partners in the US, and force us into line.
    But besides some part of the CDU party (loyal neoliberals), no major politicians support the US stance.

    This is a good indicator, that no matter what the US will try in this issue, our stance will not change substantially. Which Russia knows, and sees Germany rightly as the best possible partner to change the new cold war US is pushing. And slowly it beings to bear fruits.

    • n a

      Even Willy Brandt wouldn’t approve of it either.

      • EveryoneIsBiased

        I would say especially not him.. Yes, he was a cold warrior in the 1940s and 1950s. But that had much todo with the personal experience of Stalinism (nearly all German Socialists and Communists living in exile in Mosow were killed by Stalin).
        He saw the good and bad on both sides, and always wanted to help people on both sides.

        As his biggest achievement was the diplomatic offensive to break up the cold war via dialoge with Russia and East Germany.
        Which led to the numerous treaties, and international agreements with the soviet union, the OSCE, and ultimately leaded the way to make the “iron curtain” much more open, much more understanding between the 2 sides, and in the end, to the tearting down of the Berlin wall.
        If not for him, Egon Bahr and Herbert Wehner, the world would have taken a much more critical development.

        • JIMI JAMES

          Stalin was communist(huge difference)destroyed socialists both on cccps and germanys,such socialism was driven by incest spawn disorders,banksters just like the presents are com0-pletely against uniting nations to prosper unless they own ’em.the thing is cccp were victors but only after they seperated cccp teorrists from cccp moderates as they say in english language.

          • EveryoneIsBiased

            IMHO Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, all had massively different views. Stalin was a Stalinists. Nothing more, or less.

            Yeah, i would add that those words “Socialism” or “Communism” are as meaningless as any other word that tries to describe a political ideology.

            There has never been a true and defintive definition, and everyone projects their personal view into those words.

            Just like “left” and “right”. I am trying to abondon them all, to only speak of concrete political arguments. There is truth on every side, and when someone defines their political believes by one of the before mentioned words, they cripple themselves into a black and white worldview.

            We need to overcome this bullshit of “left” vs “right”. Or “Capitalism” vs “Socialism”, overcome all ideology, and colleborate with anyone who shares the same view on concrete political problems. “Realpolitik” not Ideology.

          • Jens Holm
        • Jens Holm

          Thats right. Trading inside Europe has been there for many centuries no matter we were very different and even enemies.

          Britts has traded a lot for many centuries. They made Archangelsk and bought a lot of food as well as material for their ropes for their navy.

          Russia closed that trade and not the rest of us after WW2. We didnt make that nasty fence. Stalin and co did so Erik Honnecher would not be the last person in DDR.

        • n a

          What I mean by that is despite supporting
          pissrael and the Vietnam war, he was willing to work with Moscow. He even had massive respect for Tito. Again, he wouldnt approve of trump nor laissez faire economics.

    • Jens Holm

      I think too many focus on US in those matters. It is decided the dependensy of oil, gas and coal has to be reduce. EU as the only ones has a relative good plan for it.

      The US embargo is not abput oil and gas, but aboput all things from and to there. So Your focus is wrong.

      Trump do support oil, gas and even coal. So its a political matter for reducing the Russian influence.I am sure they dont fear Russia as You write.

  • JIMI JAMES

    Because the do nothing democrat nwo epas,particularly california,montreal and paris have a thing against efficiency in preference to the banksters global tyranny hegemon agendas,conversely this pipe not only destoys the nwo tyranny manipulation agenda,but also profits respective nations in the long term,that is the difference between the banksters ruling over legitimate governments whoms purpose is to lead not deter from leading the peoples economies,infact the only threat to security are the banksters
    ability to rule over all governance,which is downrigh illegal,unconstitutional and unethical behind the curtains dismeanour policy,given that they are not the ones,never were voted in by democracy of folks!

  • Jens Holm

    Nice article, but its totally forgotten that rhose nice installations also delay moving away from fossils even those in many places of Europe and other windy parts of the world has a much lower production price for electricity and hardly dont pollute.