Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is jumping up and down, screaming the US, German deal on Nord Stream 2 pipeline will ‘undermine’ US national security. It turns out he is right. That is if America’s national interests include keeping Russia and other countries from going anywhere economically. And if heaven or good reason does permit cooperation, there are those who would advise a first strike to save the world order. No, seriously. Read to the end.
Pompeo threw his hat in the ring as the US and Germany reached a deal to resolve their long-standing dispute over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The US narrative about the pipeline has been focused on portraying Russian President Vladimir Putin as a chess-playing supervillain bent on keeping Europe dependent on his country’s energy. However, nowhere in this narrative does one find the real supervillains, the bankers, and big oil interests desiring to contain the world’s biggest country.
For those unfamiliar, Nord Stream 2 is an underwater twin pipeline for transporting natural gas from Russia directly to Germany. The pipeline is 1,230 kilometers long and follows the existing Nord Stream twin pipeline route underneath the Baltic Sea. The original Nord Stream pipeline has an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters (bcm). With the new pipeline, this capacity will double to 110 bcm.
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel wants the pipeline for apparent reasons. But, now Biden administration’s desire to patch ties to Europe severed by former President Donald Trump caused the new president to reconsider what potential German gas customers want instead of what the conservatives in New York and London desire.
Those who support this project say Germany needs the secure flow of natural gas to meet sustainability goals by allowing for the shutting down of coal and nuclear plants, which currently provide much of the country’s industry and residential needs. German nuclear plants are scheduled to be taken offline next year. Few realize, but Germany is the world’s biggest importer of natural gas.
Opponents of the pipeline are backed and fueled by the same interests who wanted to steal Russia’s heritage through the crazy privatizations that came in the Yeltsin era. The US fears are almost entirely based on alleged security concerns if Russia gains too much influence. This excessive fear is an offshoot of Cold War phobias and the military-industrial complex’s need to maintain NATO. The only other real issue involves EU/US economics and trade of almost 560 billion euro per year. The EU exports a surplus of over 150 billion to the US annually, and some worry about a diversion of some of this trade if EU/Russian ties are rethreaded.
At the end of the conversation, US policy aims to continue to exploit a longstanding economic imbalance in the world. Even though the US and the EU only make up about 1/10th of the world’s population, they are responsible for half of the world’s GNP. Moreover, a third of trade in the world is controlled by these partners. In no uncertain terms, this alliance dominates the livelihoods of billions outside the pairing. If the EU were to reach out to the rest of the world, the United States would lose its monopoly on world wealth. Or at least this is the underlying fear. And then there’s the Queen Mother to consider.
In June, a report came out from Wavell Room, the contemporary military think tank. “Why Europe can’t fend for itself” puts the real cards on the table for us via the Scandinavian view. The mission of the US alliance is to “Keep the Russians out, Keep the Americans in, Keep the lid on a Pandora’s box of European rivalry.” Author Robert Dalsjö, of the Swedish Defense Research Agency, quotes Lord Ismay’s three tasks for NATO as still highly relevant today.
Is this a sad reality for anyone else out there, the fact that we’ve come nowhere since before World War II? The pitifulness of the current world political atmosphere is nowhere more evident than on Dalsjö’s Twitter feed. Here is what he tweeted when it became apparent France, and Germany were seeking a reset with Moscow:
“Why, oh why, are Germans and Frenchmen so obsessed with having ”good” relations with Russia that they blind themselves to reality, instead chasing a mirage of change and friendship?”
Of course, Dr. Dalsjö has made a career of preaching about deterring Russia, but I wonder if friendly relations never occurred to the right-wing in Sweden? In his book Life-Line Lost, Dalsjö talks about secret assurances secured during the Cold War that would protect Sweden in case of war with the Soviet Union. I find it amazing that the author comes right out and suggests the public should be left out of the loop where international policy is concerned. Let me quote from the synopsis of the book:
“In the end, the lifeline intended to secure Sweden’s survival as a nation was sacrificed to protect a declaratory policy originally meant mainly for public consumption.”
Switching gears, in every instance of security policy, I can find Russia is simply reacting to the aggressive posture of the west. Take the recent announcement of the successful development and testing of Tsirkon hypersonic missiles. Some readers will recall what President Putin said when the United States and NATO ballistic missile and Aegis shield deployments in Romania. These new weapons are not designed as first-strike weapons. They’re for defensive capabilities in the wake of forwarding interceptor capabilities. With Aegis systems in place in Romania and Poland, NATO’s first strike effectiveness was enhanced. Putin said Russia would counter, and Russia did.
This example is but one of countless instances where Russia is in a defensive posture and reacting to NATO and western pressure. To quote Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov with regard to these weapons:
“What’s more, we have been confronted with certain steps by the United States and NATO that have impaired the existing parity: this relates to creating ballistic missile defense positioning areas, deploying interceptor missile systems in Romania and other countries in the close vicinity to our borders. These are the systems that can also launch strike missiles. That is, all these steps have been taken to dismantle the exiting parity. This has required measures to ensure Russia’s security and guarantee the continuation of the existing parity. This is what has been done.”
When Aegis went live in Romania, the Russian president cautioned that NATO had painted a bullseye on the country by forcing his government to respond. With Tsirkon operational, the fire could rain down on Bucharest and Constanta before the lights blink twice in the Aegis command centers. The looming question now is, “Which side initiated this escalation?” Russia did not try to win over Hungaria with a color revolution for some pan-Asian commonwealth and military alliance. NATO’s advance as a military strategy is so unprecedented and surreal. I often wonder how we’ve stayed out of a big war for so long. And Sweden is worried.
Now POLITICO is asking, “Will Putin Attack?” No, seriously. Suddenly the nutso western oligarchs have poked their media minions to melt natural gas sales and consumption into a militaristic world domination plan! A former senior adviser to the UK Ministry of Defence, Maximilian Terhalle continues with, “Will Russia attack? And if so, when?” I am chuckling. I’ll admit, at the reader out there registering a Scooby-Doo “Huh?”
Russia and Germany finally enjoy a mutually beneficial trade thingy, and now Vladimir Putin will plan the invasion of Ukraine. Really? Now the geniuses advising the people who hold nuclear launch codes are grafting Nord Stream 2 and NATO’s crazy deterrence propaganda into policy? The world these maniacs must envision for us will indeed be run by an elite ruling class that makes the Roman senate seem like a kindergarten. Terhalle, who also advised the German Ministry of Defense and wrote the book The Transition of Global Order, is also a major in the German Army reserves. I guess the gas pipeline seems like a cause for launching Operation Barbarossa II. No really. In the warped minds that run this detente circus,concerning we are all in, the world order cannot survive if the Russian middle class grows or if the fear subsides.
Stay tuned in case a Russian athlete takes gold in Tokyo!
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.