Could Nord Stream 2 break NATO?

Suddenly it appears that the hyperbolic, Russophobia warmongering that has been coming out of Washington for the past four years is in danger of having consequences.
Last month Congress kicked up the sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline to Germany to include "parties providing underwriting services, insurance or reinsurance on the project." Washington expected Europe to roll over for us, as they usually do.
Russia is already so sanctioned that there is little left for us to threaten them with. they've moved ahead to finishing the project with their own ships which are already in place.

With anchoring vessels allowed to work along the suggested NS2 route, Fortuna can be physically attached to Akademik Cherskiy and thus lay the pipes to the Baltic seabed. This constellation creates a rather straightforward path towards Nord Stream 2’s completion as both vessels are Russian assets (Cherskiy belongs to Gazprom Flot, Fortuna belongs to MRST), hence the sanctions threat would not work that well, being already sanctioned for a plethora of other reasons.

Warships of the Russian Navy are escorting the pipelaying vessels, just in case the U.S. tries something.
Chancellor Angela Merkel warned us not to do this. Germany has dug in its heels.

Germany's position on the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline remains unchanged - the project must be completed. It was stated by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, presenting the priorities of Berlin during its presidency of the European Union

This is a problem for the U.S. because we don't do diplomacy anymore.
We don't even know how to do diplomacy.
What happens to the bully when no one tolerates his bullying anymore?
Unless we back down, we are about to find out.

For the first time in the recent history of Euro-Atlantic integration, Germany has made it perfectly clear at the highest level that it could introduce sanctions against Washington and could even persuade its EU and NATO partners to act as a united front against the US.
...
However, Angela Merkel still views US-German relations in a wider context of European and global security. In an interview published recently in several European media, she admitted the possibility of a new geopolitical reality where the United States would not have a leading role: “We grew up in the certain knowledge that the United States wanted to be a world power. Should the US now wish to withdraw from that role of its own free will, we would have to reflect on that very deeply.”

Nord Stream 2 could wind up being a political gold mine for Russia, by creating a split right down the middle of NATO. It wouldn't be the outcome that Russia intended when they started building this pipeline.
The real cause instead was American hubris.

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President Trump has recently been pressing for new sanctions against Nord Stream 2, while simultaneously ratcheting up his criticism of Germany. According to his former National Security Adviser John Bolton, whose book of memoirs came out right amid the current aggravation of the political situation in the US, two years ago, Trump openly threatened to withdraw the United States from NATO because Germany and its allies were implementing the Nord Stream 2 project. According to Donald Trump’s logic, since the US pays Europeans for their safety, Europeans, in return, must buy American liquefied natural gas, even at a higher price.
...“We are convinced that the time of diplomatic restraint is now over. To protect European interests, the German government and the European Union should introduce countermeasures and consider the use of retaliatory sanctions, for example, against US shale gas. The real threat of serious retaliatory sanctions is the only way we can possibly resolve the conflict. This is the only language Donald Trump understands,” the MPs stressed.

NATO was already in trouble due to the conflict between Turkey and our support of the Syrian Kurds.

And let's not forget that Britain is leaving the EU, which leaves the EU without our closest ally. Thanks to Brexit. That makes a unified response to America more likely.

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@gjohnsit

to be reading and actually smiling. Thanks for all that you do, gjohnsit.

I love this part:

According to Donald Trump’s logic, since the US pays Europeans for their safety, Europeans, in return, must buy American liquefied natural gas, even at a higher price.

Safety? Safety from what? The Europeans are buying Nord Stream gas from Russia. Russia is selling it. Are we supposed to believe Russia wants to destroy Europe or sell gas to it? It kind of seems like it can't be both.

So we're alleging it's in Europe's interest to ditch Nord Stream, buy US LiquidNaturalGas at higher prices, and pay for NATO, instead of living in peace and purchasing gas from Russia.

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@Linda Wood
Russia gains dependence of Russian gas. Then every time that Russia wants something, they threaten to turn off the spigot. Sort of like the KSA-USA relationship.

IMHO, Europe would be much better off leaving fossil fuel entirely and depending on wind, tide, and solar.

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6 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

@gjohnsit

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Orwell: Where's the omelette?

snoopydawg's picture

but I have read a few articles saying that Biden is going have Burisma involved in selling Europe natural gas. Hunter wasn’t the only democrat involved with that company. And weapon sales and many other things in Ukraine. It wasn’t just a brutal coup, but also a crime spree for democrats.

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"It is remarkable that a sitting president would express less than complete confidence in the American democracy’s electoral process."

Hillary: "I'd be president today if Comey, Bernie, Bros and Putin hadn't stolen it from me."

that NATO will disband. It's so useless now.

Honestly, it seem to me that the only reason Russia has been doing its illegal stuff has been because of NATO encroachment. The country of Georgia wanted to join NATO, and Russia attacked it. Ukraine had a Russia-friendly president, the CIA instituted a coup with a group that wanted to join NATO, and Russia was forced to secure it's major naval base in the Crimea.

Not that I'm saying Putin isn't at fault--he definitely is. But, I understand his position, and probably would have done the same if I were in his position. Russia has *not* been aggressive since those incidents (which, actually, are receding into the past).

I think NATO should disappear.

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@apenultimate
Entitled to make treaties with whomever they liked? The USA isn't the only colonial nation. And Putin's Russia isn't all that non-Imperial.

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2 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

Pricknick's picture

@apenultimate @apenultimate
to insure that those reading don't think of you as a russian apologist.

the only reason Russia has been doing its illegal stuff

Not that I'm saying Putin isn't at fault--he definitely is

Russia has *not* been aggressive

The only fault to be layed in the last decade belongs to uncle sam I am.
Germany may be the breaking of nato. It's the most I can hope.
*Edited because I'm challenging my brain. Spellcheck is off and will stay that way.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

@apenultimate study of the Georgia war

The country of Georgia wanted to join NATO,

it was Georgia that attacked Russians in a Georgian city (I forget which). The Rus troops were there because it was predominantly Russian ethnics there and the Georgian president had embarked on cleansing that ethnic. So to stop that, Russia gave the city defenses. Georgia then started shelling the city. Contemporary reports preceding this detailed US and Israeli armaments and military trainers being provided Georgia.

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Orwell: Where's the omelette?

@apenultimate From Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia page 11:

The shelling of Tskhinvali by the Georgian armed forces during the night of 7 to 8
August 2008 marked the beginning of the large-scale armed conflict in Georgia, yet it was
only the culminating point of a long period of increasing tensions, provocations and
incidents.

I think the opinion was that while Georgia started the war, Russian reaction was overly harsh. I guess Putin did not like the Georgians killing Russian soldiers.

Here is an accounting by WSWS: EU report states Georgia started 2008 war with Russia

The Georgians under pressure from factions in the US and Israel started the war hoping the United States would intervene. From what I remember the US had one or several destroyers off the coast of Georgia. Instead on intervening, Americans were evacuated. I believe it was Biden who as VP at the time said something like "we are all Georgians". Expect war is Biden is elected.

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...we don't do diplomacy anymore. We don't even know how to do diplomacy.

We're unable to do diplomacy, because for it to work the other party has to trust your word. The whole world knows we'll break any agreement at our whim.
Well, excepting the politicians and military leaders who know the money has already gone into their account.

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15 users have voted.

Orwell: Where's the omelette?

Pricknick's picture

@jim p

The whole world knows we'll break any agreement at our whim.

You need not ask the whole world. Just ask the natives of north america.

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10 users have voted.

Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

snoopydawg's picture

@Pricknick

I can’t believe that people think Biden will do anything he says he will. We have already seen the preview of his administration haven’t we?

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8 users have voted.

"It is remarkable that a sitting president would express less than complete confidence in the American democracy’s electoral process."

Hillary: "I'd be president today if Comey, Bernie, Bros and Putin hadn't stolen it from me."

Bob In Portland's picture

Long ago I heard that one element in the goal of US foreign policy against the USSR/Russia policy was to retake the huge oil/natural gas deposits around Baku that Herbert Hoover owned prior to the Russian Revolution. Hoover, at the end of WWI, was put in charge of humanitarian aid to Europe and was particularly skimpy with what went to the new Communist country.

I have no idea of how true that was, but it works at least as a metaphor for US foreign policy. I need to dig out my copy of Christopher Simpson's THE SPLENDID BLOND BEAST, which shows how acceptance of genocide was part of the US's strategy of controlling the oil and gas supplies.

In this last decade there was a push for making LNG terminals along the eastern seaboard. The next question would be who would be buying excess American natural gas. The obvious answer would be Europe. But in order to do that Russian natgas would need to be cut off or at least minimized.

The war in Georgia in 2008 was an exchange of messages. The US wanted (and still wants) more influence over that region because...petroleum. The war was short, the Americans' ally was beaten back. The Russian response was a bombing raid parallel to oil and gas lines running east-west across Georgia. That is, Russia was saying, "We know what you are doing. We're not going to let you."

The fascist (no exaggeration, folks) coup in Ukraine in 2014 was also part of the strategy of cutting off Russian petroleum products from Western Europe. A lot of Russian pipelines to Europe cross Ukraine to Europe. The US wanted to put a pro-US regime there to be able to cut off that natgas. Nord 2 pretty much dashes that "Pipes" dream.

Russia's response in Crimea was for self-protection. The harbor there would be the ideal place for the US to set up naval and air bases to threaten and influence that region of the world. That won't happen now.

Essentially, a large contingent in our halls of power are following a strategy that will not be won. The whole Ukraine gambit has been a failure. A poor country which after its revolution is poorer and less able to command its own future is merely going to be the next battleground. There are a lot of unemployed young men with dreams of Stepan Bandera dancing in their heads and swastika tattoos on their necks are ready to die killing Russians. Unfortunately for them a war against Russia would be national suicide. The greater problem for the US is that cutting off Russian natgas from Europe in order to take over the job of supplying Europe is not supported by anyone (but Poland) in Europe. The US military budget against Russia will increasingly look like a forced business takeover of a Russian industry by the US, with no real benefit for Europe and a lot of downside.

On a positive note, our leaders may actually realize that this is a game that we can't win, and will figure out a more reality-based foreign policy. On the negative side (for our rulers), this is looking more and more like the US hegemonic policy has long since passed its logical boundary, and the inevitable rollback won't be the rollback of Russia but a more logical rollback of US militarism.

Or we could have a nuclear war.

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@Bob In Portland

and:

https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/russia/sevastopol.htm

Sevastopol
Following the election of Viktor Yanukovych to the post of President of Ukraine, Russia managed to secure on April 21, 2010, an extension to its lease of its Black Sea Fleet's base in Crimea. The lease, originally due to expire in 2017, was extended for an additional 25 years. In addition, press reports indicated that the agreement allowed for the lease to be thereafter renewed for an additional five years.

In exchange for the new lease deal, Russia pledged to cut the price of Russian natural gas for Ukraine.

and:

https://theintercept.com/2016/05/23/hillary-clinton-fracking/

Hillary Clinton’s Energy Initiative Pressed Countries to Embrace Fracking, New Emails Reveal
Lee Fang, Steve Horn
The Intercept
May 23 2016

… emails obtained by The Intercept show that State Department officials worked closely with private sector oil and gas companies, pressed other agencies within the Obama administration to commit federal government resources including technical assistance for locating shale reserves, and distributed agreements with partner nations pledging to help secure investments for new fracking projects… The campaign included plans to spread the drilling technique to China, South Africa, Romania, Morocco, Bulgaria, Chile, India, Pakistan, Argentina, Indonesia, and Ukraine… A number of energy companies that worked closely with the State Department now employ lobbyists that are fundraising furiously for Clinton’s campaign. ExxonMobil’s top lobbyist, as well as lobbyists for liquefied natural gas terminals designed to connect the U.S. to the global gas market, are among the most prolific fundraisers.

… The Global Shale Gas Initiative, Clinton’s program for promoting fracking, was announced on April 7, 2010, by David Goldwyn, the State Department’s special envoy for energy affairs, at the United States Energy Association (USEA), whose members include Chevron, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, and Shell.

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In some ways I wish the EU would shut down Nord Stream 2. One of the reasons given for stopping Nord Stream 2 is that Russia can shut it down to blackmail Europe. The only manipulation of energy supplies into Europe that I have read about has been Ukraine stealing Russian gas. I suspect that Russians would resort to other strategies rather than stopping the flow of money into their economy.

Here is the Schadenfreude part. Europeans will see American gas companies manipulate the supplies of natural gas and squeeze Europeans dry in ways that would exceed anything they can project onto the Russian. During the Arab Oil Crisis American companies with held tankers off shore to drive up the price of gas. And that was Americans screwing other Americans. We have seen what happens to economies when energy prices become sky high. EU citizens will be using their winter clothes as sleeping garb for sure.

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