Germany, latest, Poland, USA
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Attack Against Nord Stream 2 Renewed with Vigour: Whose Interests Does It Meet?

by Alex Gorka, March 20, 2018, via Strategic Culture Foundation

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-centred. 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.

 

12 Comments

  1. Seamus Padraig says

    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.

    But, but … I thought the Ukrainian nationalists wanted to sever all ties with Russia! Well, here’s your independence, Kiev. Enjoy …

    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.

    Meh .. the jury’s still out on Kurz. If he were really pro-Austrian, he would make any support for Germany’s Nordstream II project conditional on Berlin’s support for reviving the South Stream pipeline, which was supposed to terminate in Baumgarten, Austria, and which the Germans vehemently opposed and got the EU to kill.

  2. “Whose interest does it meet?” Follow the money. All roads Lead to Rome: I guess this one will lead to Rothschild. Like Genie Energy, shareholders Lord Natty Rothschild, Dick Cheyney and Rupert Murdoch, recently visited Israeli occupied Syrian Golan to discuss takeover of Syrian oil and offshore gas resources; the Leviathan gas field along the East Med shoreline all the way from Gaza to Lebanon. Why do you think the so called “Syrian Freedom Fighters” were became active at the same time as the so called “Ukrainian Freedom Fighters”? Lands both of which straddle conflicting gas routes to Europe: gas from Russian and Iran vs gas from Qatar and the E.Med coastal waters. Because of Syria’s stiff defence (with Russian help), Qatar has gone over to the Iranian gas line. The chances of Genie Energy controlling the offshore gas from Gaza, Syria and Lebanon seem increasingly remote; that leaves only Israel’s share of Leviathan — a measly portion that will not fill the giant Anglo-Zio-Capitalist maw. Hence the renewed pressure to stop Russian gas getting to Europe via Europe’s own East-West axis.

    “Capitalism red in tooth and claw” — with apologies to Tennyson.

  3. MichaelK says

    The US and the UK have created a ‘barrier’, Poland and Ukraine, between Russia/China and… Germany. Germany is the big prize here. Germany cannot adopt another kind of foreign policy and economically link itself to Chinese New Silk Road project, which is where future economic growth and power lie; if it’s energy supplies are ‘controlled’ by the United States and its vassals, like Poland and Ukraine. Therefore, killing the Nordstream2 pipeline scheme, is of vital importance for US interests. If Germany starts to go the way of Turkey, reasserting its independence, then China, Russia and Germany will control the entire Eurasian land mass, with the US looking on, from the outside. If Germany manages to break away from its ‘occupied’ status, then almost all of Europe will follow, because Germany is by far the biggest economy within the European Union.

    For the UK too, this is ‘not good’ because it will mean that Frankfurt will grow as a challenge to the City of London as the financial centre and powerhouse of Europe. About a third of all jobs in the UK are linked to the vast financial sector, one way or another. This is why the UK wants conflict with Russia, because it allows them to pull the rest of Europe away from closer contacts with the growing Russian economy, and economy which has tremendous potential, especially as Russia is so closely linked to China’s massive economy. My guess is that the UK’s strategy for keeping the Germans in line and subjugated, will fail miserably. The UK has spent over a century , and fought two world wars, attempting to do this, and only delayed the inevitable; Germany becoming the leading economic power in Europe.

    • You have described “Theory of Heartland” by Halford Mackinder published in 1904 – this theory caused the US/UK to kill over 200 Million people in the last 100 years.

      WW1 & WW2 were careful constructs by US/UK to stop what you describe & our history books lie.

  4. And the Ship of Fools sails merrily onward toward the sunset. That we might live in a multi-polar world is so terrifying to Western elites that they will scream in utter hysteria – (Russiagate & the current Salisbury poisoning)- rather than simply deal with new global realities like mature adults. Then again, I suppose that’s not really possible as they are most definately not “mature adults” since they are by and large a group of malignant narcissists and sociopaths and psychopaths for whom lying, cheating and corruption are simply a way of life. In other words, as my mother would have said: “they don’t really know any better.”

    We somehow survived the total rule of Mother Church and Crown earlier (though neither were armed with nuclear weapons to be sure). Let us hope we might collectively survive the rule of our Western oligarchs (armed with every imaginable weapon the human mind can conceive of). It is quite sad and tragic to contemplate all that money and talent that has gone into weapons and weapons systems which could instead have gone into creating a more humane world. Like Church and Crown these people won’t change. We must survive their rule and remove them from power or they will quite likely destroy us all.

  5. Joerg says

    Also this absurd “Skripal farce” is all about the ENERGY EXPORT STRUGGLE BETWEEN USA AND RUSSIA. Also the US aims to cut Russia – and Russian energy export profit – off from the EU. Here a translated German article: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=de&ie=UTF-8&u=https%3A%2F%2Fdeutsche-wirtschafts-nachrichten.de%2F2018%2F03%2F17%2Fattacke-gegen-russland-um-grossbritannien-tobt-ein-energie-krieg%2F&edit-text
    (original link: https://deutsche-wirtschafts-nachrichten.de/2018/03/17/attacke-gegen-russland-um-grossbritannien-tobt-ein-energie-krieg/ ).

    So Theresa (“conspiracy theory”) May is working for US (and US energy exporter’s) interests – on cost of the real British interests!
    Also May works for the US Empire by supporting the effort of the regime in Washington to isolate Russia – especially from western Europe. also this on cost of the real British interests!

    Also see: “US THREATENS TO SANCTION EUROPEAN FIRMS INVOLVED IN RUSSIAN GAS PROJECT” – https://www.rt.com/business/421900-us-sanctions-nord-stream-companies/

  6. George Cornell says

    The malign and malevolent influence of the US on the world has no limit. This cannot end well for any of the many sides. They lead the world in the size of the gap between self-perception and the perception of others.

  7. mark says

    Russia should just sell the damn gas to China and Turkey. Let Europe freeze. It can pay through the nose for fracked US LNG if it wants. Who cares? Let them cut off their nose to spite their face as much as they like. The cancellation of South Stream cost Bulgaria alone $400 million a year in transit payments. Poland and Ukraine could have earned billions more – and they are not rich countries. All they needed was to be reliable energy partners and they would have been laughing all the way to the bank. So Ukraine will lose 1.8 billion euros of its annual 90 billion euro GDP. That GDP works out at less than 3,000 euros per person annual income. But Russia can’t rely on those countries for transit, so they have now been cut out of the picture. The same applies to the Baltic States. With ports like Riga, they could have made a fortune as a natural transit route to Russia. But they are so rabidly Russophobic they cannot be relied on, so Russia has developed its own port facilities and transit routes in the area. They are the losers, again. They have made their bed, now they can lie on it. Sometimes life isn’t easy as a Washington satellite.

    Ukraine is now a European failed state with a dysfunctional corrupt Fascist Regime in Kiev. The only future Ukraine has is as a pool of cheap labour for the EU, with millions of “Natashas” working in EU brothels or picking cabbages in Poland. Foreign owned agribusiness (Monsanto) and extractive industries (Joe Biden’s son) and maybe sweatshop type business if they are lucky.

  8. Thomas Peterson says

    Gotta love it. A gas pipeline providing lots of gas at a reasonable price will endanger Europe’s energy security.

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