The ongoing conflict in Ukraine, admittedly an attempt to expand both NATO and the European Union (EU), has escalated in terms of dominating Europe’s energy markets. Attempts to halt the ongoing construction of Russia’s South Stream natural gas pipeline appears to be a direct attempt to further penalize Russia for its role in defending Ukrainians currently under siege by aircraft, artillery, heavy armor and irregular troops.
Toward a Europe “Whole and Free,” and its Energy Market Too
“Toward a Europe Whole and Free” was literally the title of NATO’s Atlantic Council’s May 2014 event celebrating NATO’s continuous expansion since the fall of the Soviet Union and its aspirations to integrate all along Russia’s borders and even Russia itself into its geopolitical socioeconomic order. The Atlantic Council’s official program webpage for the event stated:
This two-day conference will honor the historic milestones that have forged a strong and prosperous Atlantic community and explore the most pressing challenges to the completion of a Europe whole and free. This vision, successfully implemented for two decades with a bipartisan and transatlantic strategy, has been called into question both within current NATO and EU members and by Russia’s aggressive actions. Leaders and experts will gather at the Council’s headquarters to debate the opportunities and challenges in Europe’s east and south with the aim of exploring a renewed common transatlantic approach.
What is essentially a celebration of expansionism, military aggression, and extraterritorial political subversion, the event featured many of the chief protagonists in Ukraine’s current crisis. These included US Secretary of State John Kerry and US Vice President Joseph Biden, along with NATO commanders and US corporate-financier funded policymakers who have authored America’s decades of “exceptionalism.” It also included US Senator John McCain who literally flew to Kiev during the height of the “Euromaidan” protests and took the stage with ultra-right Neo-Nazi Svoboda Party leaders.
In their own words, those attending the Atlantic Council gathering describe the battle for Ukraine being fought to “complete” their socioeconomic consolidation in Europe – this includes “integrating Russia.” Secretary John Kerry at the gathering would literally state:
Our European Allies have spent more than 20 years with us working to integrate Russia into the Euro-Atlantic community.
By “integrating” Russia, of course, Kerry means overthrowing any independent national political order that exists in Moscow and replacing it with one that answers to Wall Street, London, and now Brussels. This can be seen clearly in attempts by the West to replicate its model of “color revolution” within Russian territory itself.
But Kerry and the rest of EU-NATO, recognizing that efforts to subvert and overthrow an independent political order in Russia have failed, have resorted to a policy of encirclement, containment, and confrontation, with Ukraine being only one of many battlefields the West is fighting upon. Kerry would declare Europe’s energy market as another.
He stated (emphasis added):
…if we want a Europe that is both whole and free, then we have to do more together immediately, with a sense of urgency, to ensure that European nations are not dependent on Russia for the majority of their energy. In this age of new energy markets, in this age of concern about global climate change and carbon overload, we ought to be able to rush to the ability to be able to make Europe less dependent. And if we do that, that will be one of the greatest single strategic differences that could be made here. We can deliver greater energy independence and help to diversify energy sources that are available to the European markets, and we can expand the energy infrastructure across Europe, and we can build up energy storage capacity throughout the continent.
And immediately they did. After resisting pressure from the EU regarding Russia’s South Stream pipeline, Bulgaria has been forced to suspend ongoing construction, jeopardizing interests and opportunities not only for Russia, but for the nations the pipeline is to pass through.
The Battle for South Stream
The halting of construction followed a visit by US Senators John McCain, Christopher Murphy, and Ron Johnson – with McCain in particular directly supporting the armed overthrow of the Ukrainian government earlier this year. In a Washington Post article titled, “Bulgaria halts work on South Stream gas pipeline,” it states:
Bulgaria’s prime minister has ordered on Sunday a halt to construction work on the Gazprom-led South Stream pipeline project planned to bypass Ukraine as a transit country and consolidating Russia’s energy grip in Europe.
Plamen Oresharski said after meeting U.S. Sens. John McCain, Christopher Murphy and Ron Johnson that he has ordered all work on the disputed project to continue only after consultations with Brussels.
Moscow responded by pointing out the obvious nature of what are in all intents and purposes sanctions against Russia. The Moscow Times reported in an article titled, “Russia Sees Underhanded Sanctions in Bulgaria’s Suspension of South Stream,” that:
Bulgaria’s decision to suspend construction of the Russia-led South Stream pipeline project on its territory, undermining Russia’s efforts to diversify its gas transportation infrastructure to Europe away from Ukraine, is an underhanded economic sanction thrust on Russia by the West, a top Russian diplomat and Russian industry analysts said Monday.
The article would also point out that once the South Stream pipeline is completed it will diminish Ukraine’s importance as a transit point for Russian natural gas into Western Europe. It appears that the moves against South Stream are designed to at the very least, delay this inevitable outcome for as long as possible, to maintain leverage as the West struggles to consolidate power on behalf of their teetering proxy regime in Kiev.
For Bulgaria’s part, not only have they disregarded US sanctions on Russia, choosing a Russian firm to build the pipeline, they appear eager to resolve the legal obstacles conveniently laid down amid the ongoing Ukrainian crisis, and complete the pipeline as soon as possible.
Exploiting South Stream’s Delay
The West’s plans to use South Stream’s delay to extort concessions from Russia and those working with it on the project. Additionally the delay will help preserve the benefits of Ukraine’s current monopoly on transporting Russian natural gas to Western Europe. To ensure maximum leverage, the West is placing key personnel within Ukraine’s energy sector, in addition to propping up the regime in Kiev. Perhaps the most indicative of the overall illegitimacy and criminal nature of the current EU-NATO posture was the appointment of Hunter Biden, son of US Vice President Joseph Biden, as a member of Ukraine energy giant Barisma’s board of directors.
Biden Jr.’s nepotist appointment is not where the conflict of interest begins or ends. Biden Jr. was also a director of the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) subsidiary National Democratic Institute (NDI). The NED/NDI played an admitted role in building up opposition parties in Ukraine prior to the so-called “Euromaidan” protests and admittedly engineered the so-called “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine in 2004. More recently, they served as “election monitors” lending their stamp of approval of polling in Ukraine where entire provinces failed to vote in the east, opposition parties were unable to campaign in the west, and the aerial bombardment of cities across the country was underway.
In effect, Biden Jr.s NDI overthrew a government ahead of himself being appointed as a director in the targeted nation’s largest energy company – a dizzying conflict of interest. Coupled with the stated US agenda of reducing Russia’s influence in Europe’s energy market, this conflict of interest becomes a self-evident impropriety and an obvious component of the West’s agenda of encircling and containing Russia.
It remains to be seen how long the South Stream delay lasts and what other moves the EU, NATO, and Ukraine’s openly foreign-influenced regime and industries take in implementing Secretary Kerry’s stated goal of confronting Russia. For nations like Bulgaria, the cost to their sovereignty upon entering the European Union can now be acutely felt. Bulgaria is now unable to pursue their own interests because of dictates from Brussels made on behalf of special interests operating well beyond their borders and in absolute disregard to the peace and prosperity of the Bulgarian people. It is a cautionary tale for other nations around the world seeking to enter into similar supranational “communities,” most notably Southeast Asia’s ASEAN/AEC.
NATO and the EU’s open intent to “integrate” all of Europe including Russia into their geopolitical order, clearly by force if necessary, their abuse of the EU’s legal framework to impose thinly veiled sanctions on Russia, overt nepotism, as well as obstructing the completion of projects that are demonstrably beneficial to their own member states reveals an emerging political order of immense criminality unbound by the rule of law and a clear and present danger to global stability. For those in eastern Ukraine weathering air raids, artillery barrages, and mechanized “national guard” composed of ultra-right Neo-Nazi militants, that instability is already a deadly, daily reality.