Tag Archives: Nordstream 2

Nordstream 2’s Hard Lesson in Reality for Everyone, by Tom Luongo

Germany calls the shots in Europe and its awesome industrial plant needs reasonably priced energy, which is why the Germans weren’t going to let the US stop the Nordstream 2 natural gas line. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

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Nord Stream 2 ‘Deal’ Is Not an American Concession, It’s Admission of Defeat, by The Strategic Culture Editorial Board

Nord Stream 2 is a victory for American foreign policy in the same way as the Afghanistan War has been. From the Strategic Culture Editorial Board at strategic-culture.org:

All in all, Washington’s virtue-signaling is one helluva gas!

After much arm-twisting, bullying and foghorn diplomacy towards its European allies, the United States appears to have finally given up on trying to block the giant Nord Stream 2 project with Russia. What an epic saga it has been, revealing much about American relations with Europe and Washington’s geopolitical objectives, as well as, ultimately, the historic decline in U.S. global power.

In the end, sanity and natural justice seem to have prevailed. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline under the Baltic Sea will double the existing flow of Russia’s prodigious natural gas to Germany and the rest of Europe. The fuel is economical and environmentally clean compared with coal, oil and the shale gas that the Americans were vying with Russia to export.

Russia’s vast energy resources will ensure Europe’s economies and households are reliably and efficiently fueled for the future. Germany, the economic engine of the European Union, has a particular vital interest in securing the Nord Stream 2 project which augments an existing Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Both follow the same Baltic Sea route of approximately 1,222 kilometers – the longest pipeline in the world – taking Russian natural gas from its arctic region to the northern shores of Germany. For Germany’s export-led economy, Russian fuel is essential for future growth, and hence benefiting the rest of Europe.

It was always a natural fit between Russia and the European Union. Geographically and economically, the two parties are compatible traders and Nord Stream 2 is merely the culmination of decades of efficient energy relations.

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Biden, Reversing Trump, Permits a Key Putin Goal: a New Russian Natural Gas Pipeline to Germany, by Glenn Greenwald

We have yet to see Rachel Maddow frothing at the mouth about Putin puppet Joe Biden. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

That Trump was controlled by Putin and served his agenda was the opposite of reality. First Obama, and now Biden, have accommodated Moscow far more.

Then-Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (L) and then-US Vice President Joe Biden (2nd R) meet on March 10, 2011. Putin on March 10 proposed to Biden that Russia and the United States abolish visas in a “historic” step to seal a revival in ties. (Photo: ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP via Getty Images)

That the Kremlin had taken over American political institutions through its blackmail control of former President Donald Trump was a media conspiracy theory as pervasive as it was deranged. This once-exciting script was excavated from the CIA’s Cold War basement, dusted off by their operatives, and then kicked off by the intelligence community’s purposeful dissemination of the now-debunked Steele Dossier. And once this fairy tale was launched, there were seemingly no limits on the depths to which media figures would sink to promote it.

Journalists published best-selling books and column after column hyping this melodrama of international intrigue. In what was just one of many low points, MSNBC’s host Chris Hayes earnestly interviewed New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait about the latter’s 2018 cover story speculating that Trump may have been groomed as a Russian intelligence asset since 1987. “Unlikely but possible” declared the on-screen cable graphic as Hayes spoke, summarizing the media’s Trump-era renunciation of all standards of rationality and evidence for disseminating unhinged conspiracies to their audience, at great profit for themselves but great harm to everything and everyone else.

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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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