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23.04.2016 Author: F. William Engdahl

The Illusion of Balkan Energy Security

54654555Since strong pressure on the Bulgarian government back in 2014 caused her to stop construction of the Russian gas pipeline, South Stream, that was to have supplied Russian gas to the Balkans and on to Austria and Italy, Brussels has argued that the stop was necessary because of “regional energy security” and the risk of dependence on Russian gas. The decision has, to the contrary of what Brussels claimed, left Bulgaria and the entire region in south East EU states in a state of great uncertainty regarding its future sources and price of natural gas for their economies. The reality is that regional energy security in the Balkans is an illusion so long as the world is at war. We today in Europe and the world are in a state of de facto world war even if to date, war by hybrid or non-traditional means.

How did this come about in a world where a mere six  years earlier events hardly seemed to suggest such a deterioration in political relations, especially between the European Union and the Russian Federation?

To answer this question it is necessary to understand the strategic military policy of the United States today.

Wolfowitz Doctrine

As Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared repeatedly over a period of years, Washington and those who control Washington policy are pursuing some form of what they like to call America’s Manifest Destiny, ever since the Soviet Union dissolved and with it the Warsaw Pact military alliance in 1990-1991. It is neither manifest nor destiny, rather the mad plan of some power-addicted circles.

A triumphalist President George Herbert Walker Bush admitted that “destiny” or, in fact, an undeclared agenda of those power-addicted circles, in an address to a Joint Session of Congress on September 11, 1990. Bush was one of the prime engineers of the transformation of the United States into a globalist war machine of empire. In his September 11 speech Bush proclaimed that America as Sole Superpower would create what freemasons and others refer to as a “New World Order,” or as the American dollar bill declares in the Latin, Novus ordo seclorum. That new order, as is clear today, is one of war, killing, chaos, hate and vengeance, negativity everywhere in the world where there is positivity. It’s very much the history of the forty so years since Bush was Director of the CIA, and put much of those developments into motion starting with the 1991 US invasion of Iraq.

In February, 1992 the Pentagon’s Defense Planning Guidance for 1994–99, a strategic policy for the post-Cold War era–a world with one Sole Superpower–was drafted by the office of Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz. Known today as the Wolfowitz Doctrine, it was prematurely leaked by a Pentagon official who believed such a radical departure from US defense posture–particularly when the prime “enemy,” the Soviet Union, was no more the enemy–should be subject of a full public debate. The initial draft policy, which is actual policy today, was hastily edited and softened after appearing in original form in the New York Times. The original policy however remained until today.

The original Wolfowitz doctrine stated that, “America’s political and military mission in the post-cold-war era will be to insure that no rival superpower is allowed to emerge in Western Europe, Asia or the territory of the former Soviet Union.” It called for action outside the UN rules if necessary, and for the US military to wage pre-emptive wars: “We will retain the preeminent responsibility for addressing selectively those wrongs which threaten not only our interests, but those of our allies…” At that time Dick Cheney was President Bush senior’s Secretary of Defense.

The Wolfowitz Doctrine proclaimed that the American mission will be, “convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests.” The late US Senator Ted Kennedy denounced the doctrine in 1992, declaring it, “a call for 21st century American imperialism that no other nation can or should accept.”

That original Wolfowitz Doctrine became official, declared policy under George W. Bush’s presidency after September 11, 2001 when Cheney, Wolfowitz, Scooter Libby, Richard Perle, Andrew Marshall and other hard-core so-called neo-conservatives controlled US military and foreign policy. It was made public in the media as the Bush Doctrine or formally, the National Security Strategy of the United States, in 2002.

The policy justified “pre-emptive” US military strikes such as against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq, as well as US promotion of regime change in nations around the world not willing to tow the Washington line under the name “exporting democracy.”

Two Pillars of American Power

Since 1944 following the Bretton Woods agreements and a year later the US decision to drop two atomic bombs on Japan, US power in the world has rested on two pillars. The first pillar has been, Wall Street and the US dollar as world reserve currency. Second, no other nation shall be allowed to challenge America’s military superiority. Since then US foreign policy has been a careful alternation of one or the other depending on the strength of a potential financial rival or a potential military rival.

By 1989, an economic rival to the United States was emerging called the European economic Union and its new Single Market blueprint that, following the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, was unveiled as the Maastricht Treaty on European Union in February 1992. It called for creation of a European Central Bank and a single currency, now the euro. Little-remembered, it also called for a European Defense Pillar independent of NATO. That was not to happen. Washington took active measures to ignite the war in Yugoslavia that changed the political map of Europe. NATO was pushed on EU member states in the east including Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and the Czech Republic. US-controlled NATO was to dominate EU military affairs and does to this day.

By 2007 the financial pillar of US global hegemony was in deep trouble as the US real estate-related banking crisis began to spread into the worst financial crisis in US history by September 2008.

At that juncture an entirely new challenge was presented to Washington and Wall Street in the form of an increasingly assertive China and the emergence of Russia from the devastation of the Yeltsin years under the nationalist presidency of Vladimir Putin. In 2008 an assertive China made it publicly clear to Washington that she would reconsider buying of US Treasury debt if the US continued to run deficits at the trillion dollar pace they were.

Washington’s response was in the form of irregular warfare. She launched a series of regime change destabilizations across the Middle East starting with Tunisia in December 2010 with the Tunisian revolution to unseat President Ben Ali. It was immediately followed by the Tahrir Square ‘Color Revolution’ in Egypt, spreading rapidly across the entire Middle East with the savage destruction of Africa’s most prosperous Muslim country, Libya, and the murder of Gaddafi in late 2011. Washington’s hidden agenda behind sponsoring those revolutions was to ultimately impose Muslim Brotherhood puppet regimes as they briefly managed with Mohammed Morsi in Egypt. The strategic aim was for the US military to directly control the center of the world’s known oil reserves directly for the first time. Through such control, it could control the economies of the EU as well as of emerging China by controlling their access to energy, and Russia by controlling world oil and gas prices. It was a strategy Dick Cheney, then Halliburton CEO alluded to in his 1999 London speech to the Institute of Petroleum.

Middle East Energy Geopolitics

The geopolitics of energy—oil and natural gas—played a central role in the Washington strategy of what was deceptively named Arab Spring. In 2009, the

The largest gas field in the world straddles both Iranian and Qatari territorial waters of the Persian Gulf

Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani met with Syrian President Bashar al Assad in Damascus. There Al Thani proposed to Assad that Syria join in an agreement to allow a transit gas pipeline from Qatar’s huge North Dome Field in the Persian Gulf adjacent to Iran’s huge South Pars gas field. The Qatari pipeline would have gone through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey to supply European markets. Most crucially, it would bypass Russia.

An Agence France-Presse report at the time claimed Assad’s rationale for rejecting Al Thani’s proposal was “to protect the interests of his Russian ally, which is Europe’s top supplier of natural gas.” In 2010 Assad instead joined talks with Iran and Iraq for an alternative $10 billion pipeline plan that would also potentially allow Iran to supply gas to Europe from its South Pars field in the Iranian waters of the Persian Gulf. The three countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding in July 2012 – just as Syria’s civil war was spreading to Damascus and Aleppo. Assad had made himself Enemy Number One for the US and France and Britain, joined by Erdogan’s Turkey and then by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Qatar is home today of the Muslim Brotherhood.

‘Most blatant coup d’etat…’

In October 2011 and again in February 2012 in the UN Security Council Russia vetoed US resolutions that would have sanctioned military intervention to topple Assad in Syria. Washington’s response was to hit Moscow in her backyard–Ukraine. Following months of US-backed EuroMaidan protests in Kiev, Washington forced the elected president of Ukraine to flee for his life in February 2014.

The Obama Administration, led by State Department hawk, Victoria Nuland, US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, and legions of CIA operatives inside the Maidan Square protests, openly installed their hand-picked puppets, using overt neo-nazis of Pravy Sektor and Svoboda Party to do so. George Friedman, head of Stratfor, a US strategic consultancy whose clients include the Pentagon and CIA, as well as Israeli agencies, told the Russian Kommersant in a December interview, the US-organized coup d’etat in Ukraine was “the most blatant [US] coup in history.”

When Washington spat in the face not only of Germany and France and the EU, but in the face of Russia and of Ukraine itself, by dictating the persons to run the new Kiev coup regime, headed by their choice of Prime Minister, reputed high-ranking Scientologist, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Germany and France swallowed hard. They groveled behind the lead of the Washington warhawks in the Obama Administration. The EU unanimously voted US-dictated sanctions against Russia after the March, 2014 referendum in Crimea. German industry protested openly at the sanctions. Merkel’s government bowed before NATO and Washington, and the German economy suffered gravely along with the rest of the EU.

That US policy of driving a deep wedge between Russia and the EU using Ukraine, was the actual background to the immense pressure put by Brussels on the government of Bulgaria to halt construction of the South Stream gas pipeline that would have brought 63 billion cubic meters of gas a year to South East European countries independent of dependence on the unstable Ukrainian transit line. It would have been a step to regional energy security independent of the warzone called Ukraine.

The EU Commission, itself under pressure from the Obama Administration, put undue pressure on the Bulgarian government to renegotiate its Gazprom Russian bilateral agreements on South Stream to conform to their Third Energy Package, which is little more than a geopolitical vehicle to weaken Russian gas flows inside the EU. It mandates that no single company control the full process of extraction, transportation and sale of energy in the EU. Brussels acted with dubious legality as South Stream included diverse international partners such as Italy’s ENI (20 percent), France’s EDF (15 percent) and Germany’s Wintershall, subsidiary of BASF (15 percent). In the event, on December 1, 2014, as is known, Russian President Putin on a visit to Turkey announced it had been forced by the EU rules to cancel South Stream, offering instead delivery of gas through Turkey stopping at the Greek border where EU states would have to construct other pipeline options.

At this point there are no other secure gas options for Bulgaria and the countries of South East Europe short of Russia and Gazprom. The gas of offshore Azerbaijan is insufficient. The gas of Qatar is in the midst of a war zone as is the gas of Iran and the newly-discovered Leviathan gas field claimed by Israel is disputed by Lebanon. For geopolitical reasons Iranian gas is an unlikely candidate for major EU dependency. The recent signing by Germany of Nord Stream II to route additional Russian gas via an underwater route from Russia via the Baltic sea to north Germany would likely at the present be the only feasible gas alternative for Bulgaria and the region until the EU states decide to lift Russian sanctions and back away from Washington’s posture of fostering a new war with Russia using Europe as the proxy.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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