Nord Stream 2: Washington to “Free” Europe From Freedom to Decide for Itself

By Tony Cartalucci

Nord Stream 2 is a pipeline project extending from Russia to Germany that – when completed – will provide a secure means of exporting Russian natural gas to Western Europe – circumventing a now volatile Ukraine all while tying Russia and Europe together further through mutually beneficial economic activity.

Of course, for special interests residing across the Atlantic in Washington and on Wall Street, Russia and Europe building closer ties through constructive economic activity undermines a long-standing strategy of coercing Europe via the constant threat of a supposedly hostile Kremlin Washington claims undermines a free and united Europe.

Ironically, in order to preserve Europe’s “freedom” the US has now resorted to punishing interests in Europe – and in Germany specifically – for freely choosing to do business with Russia. It not only fully illustrates the supreme hypocrisy that lies at the very root of Washington’s current foreign policy, but also threatens to undermine legitimate US business interests seeking – just as Russia does – to build constructive economic ties with companies and nations around the globe.

Sanctions Approved

The BBC in its article, “Nord Stream 2: Trump approves sanctions on Russia gas pipeline,” would report:

President Donald Trump has signed a law that will impose sanctions on any firm that helps Russia’s state-owned gas company, Gazprom, finish a pipeline into the European Union.

The sanctions target firms building Nord Stream 2, an undersea pipeline that will allow Russia to increase gas exports to Germany.

The US considers the project a security risk to Europe.

Both Russia and the EU have strongly condemned the US sanctions.

It may or may not confound objective observers to see the US unilaterally leveling sanctions against foreign companies because of what Washington claims are security threats to the nations these companies reside in.

It is clearly the business of Germany and Germany alone to determine what may or may not be a security risk. The US deciding not only unilaterally that the Nord Stream 2 project is a security risk – but in contradiction to Berlin’s own assessments of these supposed risks – exposes what is a US foreign policy rooted in singular self-interests poorly hidden behind notions of global peace, stability, and progress.

Were Russia the “threat” that Washington claims it is, clearly Germany would not have invested the immense amount of time, energy, and resources required merely to approve of the Nord Stream 2 project – let alone all the time, energy, and resources required to build and operate it.

Stated Motives. Admitted “Hidden” Motives. Larger, Unspoken Motives

The BBC article gives a glimpse of what is truly motivating Washington’s current posture regarding Nord Stream 2. In its article, it notes that:

The Trump administration fears the pipeline will tighten Russia’s grip over Europe’s energy supply and reduce its own share of the lucrative European market for American liquefied natural gas.

And indeed, US energy interests do stand to lose against Russian natural gas – but only because US energy interests are unable to fairly compete against Russia’s ability to deliver cheaper energy through much more practical means.

There is also another motivation driving Washington’s current foreign policy – unmentioned by the BBC – but one that eclipses the interests of American big-energy – no matter how large these interests may be.

The alleged spectre of a malign Russia preying on Europe serves as – and has served for decades as the foundation of the US-led NATO alliance, the US military presence in Europe and the billions upon billions of dollars of weapon sales, contracts, and all the political influence that constitutes both.

Europe and Russia building a significant pipeline and cooperating over something as key to Europe’s economic security and survival as energy demand obviously and completely undermines NATO’s pretense to exist – and thus threatens the immense racket that constitutes NATO’s continued existence. This not only threatens Washington’s grip on Europe, but all the other wars NATO is used as a vehicle to carry both the American nation and its Western allies into across the globe.

The Western intervention in Serbia in the 1990s, the Afghan war stretching from 2001 to present day, and more recently the Western intervention in Libya beginning in 2011 are all examples of US belligerence made possible by NATO – and belligerence that would be exponentially more difficult to continue onward with if NATO was weakened or rendered entirely unnecessary and disbanded.

Not Serving European Interests, or even US Interests

One must be careful when saying “the US is imposing sanctions on Germany.” The US is not. A small handful of special interests in Washington, directed by an even smaller handful of interests on Wall Street are imposing sanctions on Europe over the Nord Stream 2 project.

They are doing so clearly to the detriment of Russia. But also obviously to the detriment of Germany and the European companies involved in completing, operating, and receiving benefits from the pipeline when it opens.

They are also imposing sanctions on Europe to the detriment of the American people, American businesses at large, and the American nation itself both as it stands internationally today and to the detriment of how it will stand internationally in the future.

While the US arms and energy industries certainly stand to gain from a status quo in Europe which includes the perpetuation of the artificial wedge driven between Europe and Russia, it benefits nearly no one else.

And while these two industries do certainly employ a lot of Americans, they are unsustainable businesses demonstrably unable to compete fairly – and now – not even effectively able to cheat. The future is bleak for those employed or otherwise dependent on these two industries as they currently exist. Washington’s policies pushed forward on behalf of big-energy and arms manufacturers are pushed forward at the cost of nearly everyone else.

For a world eager to do business with the United States – a nation still populated by talented people capable of contributing to the global economy – policies like sanctions aimed at Germany and other nation’s involved with Nord Stream 2 give pause for thought and force potential business partners of the US to reevaluate future joint-ventures.

Thus, despite the short-term self-serving nature of US sanctions regarding Nord Stream 2, the sanctions only serve to accelerate America’s overall decline. A Washington fixated on such methods to “compete” with Russia and to maintain influence over Europe is not able to focus on or invest in truly needed strategies to improve genuine American competitiveness – competitiveness that serves as the only true and sustainable means of creating and maintaining influence globally.

For the American people and American business owners, divesting away from Washington’s current policies and finding ways to circumvent them just as the rest of the world is finding ways to circumvent US sanctions will hopefully help build bridges, or at least prepare the ground to do so – so when the current circle of special interests misleading the US into further decline fade away, something better can be put in their place.

Nord Stream 2 is just one sign of the shape of things to come. The US will only face more “Nord Stream 2’s” in the future not only in the form of Russian-European cooperation, but also in Asia centered around China and its own rise upon the international stage. Washington doubling down on a losing strategy will only accelerate America’s current woes – not fix them. Until Washington understands this, or until the American people find a way to work around Washington’s agenda – these woes will only multiply and to everyone’s detriment.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”, where this article first appeared.

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