Tag Archives: Nordstream 2

The World Has Gone Absolutely Insane! by the Saker

There may be some residual sanity out there, but you have to look pretty hard for it. From the Saker at unz.com:

We all know that we are living in crazy, and dangerous, times, yet I can’t help being awed at what the imperial propaganda machine (aka the legacy ziomedia) is trying to make us all swallow. The list of truly batshit crazy stuff we are being told to believe is now very long, and today I just want to pick on a few of my “favorites” (so to speak).

First, of course, comes the “Novichok Reloaded” scandal around the alleged poisoning of the so-called “dissident” Alexei Navalnyi. I already mentioned this absolutely ridiculous story once, so I won’t repeat it all here. I just want to mention a few very basic facts:

  • Navalnyi is pretty much a discredited non-entity in Russia. “Putin” (because this is how the imperial propaganda machine always personalizes the evils of Russia: “Putin” did this or that, as if Putin was personally in every alleged Russian evil deed) had absolutely and exactly zero reasons to harm Navalnyi in any way. I would even add that IF Navalnyi was poisoned in Russia (which I do not believe) then the FSB screwed up by not offering him 24/7 protection, especially in the current political climate (i.e. struggle for the completion of North Stream 2).
  • The Empire always likes to produce a “sacrificial lamb” to symbolize the putative evil of the nation which dares to resist. In Iran it was Neda, in Kuwait the infamous “incubator babies”, in Syria anonymous kids killed by Russian gas, and in Russia it was Nemtsov (did not really work) and now Navalnyi (I wonder who the sacrificial lamb will be in Belarus (Tikhanovskaia?). The FSB should have seen this coming, especially after Nemtsov.

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Trump and the Gordian Knot, Year Three, by Patrick Armstrong

There are two ways to break up a relationship: walk away, or get the other party to walk away. Is Trump trying to break up NATO by getting the other parties to walk away? From Patrick Armstrong at strategic-culture.org:

In January 2018 I advanced the hypothesis that U.S. President Trump understood that the only way to “Make American Great Again” was to disentangle it from the imperial mission that had it stuck in perpetual wars. I suggested that the cutting of this “Gordian Knot of entanglements” was difficult, even impossible, to accomplish from his end and that he understood that the cutting could only come from the other side. I followed up with another look the next March. I now look at my hypothesis as Trump’s first term comes to an end.

While we are no closer to knowing whether this is indeed Trump’s strategy or an unintended consequence of his behaviour, it is clear that the “Gordian knot of U.S. imperial entanglements” is under great strain.

German-American relations provide an observation point. There are four demands the Trump Administration makes of its allies – Huawei, Iran, Nord Stream 2 and defence spending – and all four converge on Germany. Germany is one of the most important American allies; it is probably the second-most important NATO member; it is the economic engine of the European Union. Should it truly defy Washington on these issues, there would be fundamental damage to the U.S. imperium. (And, if George Friedman is correct in stating that preventing a Germany-Russia coalition is the “primordial interest” of the USA, the damage could be greater still.) And yet that is what we are looking at: on several issues Berlin is defying Washington.

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Navalny, Novichok, and Nord Stream 2, by Johanna Ross

The narrative crafted so far regarding Alexei Navalny and his alleged Novichok poisoning doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. From Johanna Ross at infobrics.com:

Timing is everything, they say. Never more so was it crucial in the case of Alexei Navalny, currently coming out of a coma in the Charité hospital in Berlin, Germany, where he was transferred last month from Omsk in Russia after collapsing on a plane. Timing in this detective story is vital to understanding the motive behind the alleged poisoning.

For the West, it is a cut and dried case. Navalny, the Russian opposition activist, was poisoned by a nerve agent ‘Novichok’, probably in a cup of tea he drank at Omsk airport. The German military, after liaising with scientists at the UK’s Porton Down laboratory, came to that conclusion after carrying out tests. The implication is that the Russian state is responsible. In what was an unusually defiant tone, Angela Merkel said that Germany was awaiting answers from the Russian government regarding Navalny’s plight. Heiko Maas, the German Foreign Minister, went further at the weekend to say that he hoped Russia would come up with a response to the allegations of Novichok poisoning, or it could affect the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.

And herein lies the rub for the western version of events. For if indeed the Russian state was indeed guilty of poisoning Navalny, why on earth would it allow his transfer to Germany? And why would it carry out such a criminal act during the last phase of the Nord Stream pipeline project, in which so much has been invested? Politically and geopolitically, such an act would absolutely backfire. By eliminating an opposition member such as Alexei Navalny, it would no doubt produce a furious reaction from both foreign powers and domestic opposition, only encouraging anti-government activism.

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Is Trump Using Nordstream 2 to Exit NATO? by Tom Luongo

If Trump is intentionally trying to piss the Europeans off, he’s doing a good job of it. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

The one thing I never thought I’d say is that Donald Trump is consistent, and yet on the subject of the Nordstream 2 pipeline he has been.

No single project has caused more wailing and gnashing of teeth than Nordstream 2. And since Nordstream 2 is simply the substitute for South Stream, which was supposed to come across the Black Sea into Bulgaria and then feed eastern Europe, this U.S. opposition to another Russian pipeline spans multiple administrations.

So, this is policy that goes far beyond simple 2020 electoral politics, Trump trying to look tough on the Russians, or his misguided Energy Dominance policy.

With Trump rescinding the sanctions exemption for Nordstream 2 he now has declared open war against Europe, specifically Germany over this project.

But here’s the thing, I think Trump is doing this for updated reasons that fit a different agenda than why the U.S. opposed Nordstream 2 previously, because he knows he can’t stop the pipeline now. All he can do is further alienate Germany, who he has targeted as the main problem in Europe.

Before I go any further, though, I think a little history lesson is in order.

U.S. opposition to Nordstream 2 is deeply ingrained on all sides of the political aisle in D.C. From Republicans still fighting the cold war to Democrats having deep ties to Ukrainian gas transit there are a multitude of reasons why Nordstream 2 is verboten in D.C.

On the other hand, Europe’s relationship with Nordstream 2 is, in a word, complicated.

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An End to the World as We Know It? by Philip Giraldi

There’s no end to the foreign policy stupidity coming out of Washington, especially policies designed to antagonize Russia. From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:

Congress and the White House compete in year-end stupidity sweepstakes

At the end of the nineteenth century, Lord Palmerston stated what he thought was obvious, that “England has no eternal friends, England has no perpetual enemies, England has only eternal and perpetual interests.” Palmerston was saying that national interests should drive the relationships with foreigners. A nation will have amicable relations most of the time with some countries and difficult relations with some others, but the bottom line should always be what is beneficial for one’s own country and people.

If Palmerston were alive today and observing the relationship of the United States of America with the rest of the world, he might well find Washington to be an exception to his rule. The U.S., to be sure, has been adept at turning adversaries into enemies and disappointing friends, and it is all done with a glib assurance that doing so will somehow bring democracy and freedom to all. Indeed, either neoliberal democracy promotion or the neoconservative version of the same have been seen as an overriding and compelling interest during the past twenty years even though the policies themselves have been disastrous and have only damaged the real interests of the American people.

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Nordstream Sanctions a Sad Coda to U.S. Foreign Policy, by Tom Luongo

The US’s European satrapies are rebelling. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

The U.S. crossed the Rubicon this week. And I’m not talking about the ridiculous impeachment of President Trump for doing his job.

I’m talking about passing the NDAA with provisions to sanction ‘from hell’ anyone associated with completion of the Nordstream 2 pipeline. The U.S. is now openly dismissive as a matter of law any ally or partner who engages in economic activity it disapproves of.

We do this all the time with countries we consider rivals or who have committed ‘human rights abuses’ or contravened international laws or societal norms.

But this is about a simple commercial transaction. Yes, it has geopolitical implications, but those are secondary. No one will be harmed by Nordstream 2, The real harm is to the U.S.’s ability to bring political pressure on European countries to adopt its anti-Russian policies.

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US Concedes Defeat On Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline Even As Sanctions Passed, by Tyler Durden

The Russians and Europeans are refusing to dance to the US government’s tune. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

A new Bloomberg headline reads “U.S. Concedes Defeat on Gas Pipeline It Sees as Russian Threat” just following new sanctions included in the House and Senate passed 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this week.

But two administration officials tell Bloomberg it’s too little too late, despite Trump’s heightened rhetoric of calling Germany “a captive to Russia” and charging Berlin with essentially giving “billions” of dollars to Russia:

Senior U.S. administration officials, who asked not to be identified discussing the administration’s take on the project, said sanctions that passed Congress on Tuesday as part of a defense bill are too late to have any effect. The U.S. instead will try to impose costs on other Russian energy projects, one of the officials added.

Image via nord-stream2.com/Unian

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As Winter Comes Pipeline Wars Heat Up, by Thomas Luongo

Apparently the US government has failed to stop the Nordstream 2 natural gas pipeline from Russia to Europe. From Tom Luongo at strategic-culture.org:

For all of 2019 December has been a magnet. A number of major geopolitical issues come to head this month and many of them have everything to do with energy. This is the month that Russian gas giant Gazprom was due to finish production on three major pipeline projects – Nordstream 2, Turkstream and Power of Siberia.

Power of Siberia is here. It’s finished. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping christened the pipeline to begin the month. Next month Putin will travel to Turkey to join President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to open the first of four potential trains of the Turkstream pipeline.

It is only Nordstream 2 that continues to lag behind because of insane levels of pressure from the United States that is dead set against this pipeline coming online.

And the reason for that is the last of the major energy issues surrounding Gazprom needing resolution this month, the gas transit contract between it and Ukraine’s Naftogaz.

The two gas companies have been locked in legal disputes for years, some of which center on Crimea’s decision to break away from Ukraine and rejoin Russia in 2014. Most of them, however, involve disputes over costs incurred during the previous and expiring gas transit contract.

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Washington Prefers Confrontation With Russia to Dialogue and Cooperation, by Brian Cloughley

The US’s efforts to “hem Russia in” grow increasingly ludicrous. From Brian Cloughley at strategic-culture.org:

On September 24, while the Ukraine corruption scandal was gathering momentum in Washington, the US Air Force’s 31 Fighter Wing deployed F-16 strike aircraft to Graf Ignatievo Air Base in Bulgaria as part of Exercise Rapid Buzzard which has the aim of improving the “joint warfighting capability” of the US and Bulgarian air forces. It is hardly coincidental that Bulgaria has undertaken to spend $1.27 billion on buying F-16s, resulting in the US State Department declaring that “We salute Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and the Bulgarian government on its commitment to modernize its military through the acquisition of these highly capable, NATO interoperable aircraft.”

The build-up of US-NATO offensive weapons continues unabated round Russia’s borders, with Bulgaria being described by the State Department as “a reliable ally in an area of strategic importance to the United States.” In New York, the day before the F-16 redeployment, US and Polish Presidents Trump and Duda signed a joint agreement to greatly increase military cooperation and “develop the plan to bolster Polish–United States military ties and United States defence and deterrence capabilities in Poland.”

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Time Runs Out on U.S. Opposition to Nordstream 2, by Tom Luongo

The battle over Nordstream 2 is yet another indication that the US empire is splintering. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

The Nordstream 2 pipeline represents the last stand of U.S. influence over the internal affairs of Europe.

Once finished it will stand as a testament to the fundamental split between the European Union and the United States.

Europe will this as its first successful defense of its newly-declared independence. And the U.S. will have to come to terms with no longer having control overseas.

This is a theme repeating itself all around the world right now.

Your view of Nordstream 2 depends on who you are.

If you are the U.S. it is a massive rebuke of the post-WWII institutional order mostly paid for by the U.S. to rebuild Europe and protecting it from the scourge of the U.S.S.R.

From Europe’s perspective it’s, “Job well done and all that but Russia isn’t a threat anymore and it is time for us to come out from underneath the U.S.’s shadow.”

And if you are Russia Nordtream 2 is the wedge driving these two adversaries apart while improving national security on your western border.

Europe has imperial ambitions of its own and Nordstream 2 is a very important part of that. Those ambitions, however, are not in line with those in the U.S., particularly under the “leadership” of Donald Trump.

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