An article by my Hoover colleague Dr. Paul Gregory in The Hill
Much has been made of President Biden’s comment that “Nord Stream 2 is a bad deal for Europe.” Yet with the announcement by Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Nord Stream 2 sanctions are not in the U.S. national interest and will be waived, the Russian-financed European pipeline should glide to a speedy completion. There remains only German regulatory approval before Nord Stream 2 will become operational, unless Germany’s September elections yield some major surprises.
The Biden administration’s rationale appears to be that President Trump treated major ally Germany roughly, so we should give Germany what it wants — Nord Stream 2. Let our other European allies simmer; Trump hurt their feelings less than Germany’s, so they don’t count. And, besides, maybe a magnanimous gesture will bring Russia’s Vladimir Putin to a summit with Biden that will solve the world’s outstanding problems.
Trump, the alleged pro-Russian president, fought the Nord Stream 2 pipeline throughout his presidency; in that, he, like Biden, enjoyed the strong backing of the U.S. Senate. Trump wielded sanctions to scare off Western companies involved in its construction, leaving only Russian vessels, associated Russian oligarchs and the Nord Stream parent company, headquartered in Switzerland, at risk of further sanctions. Although the Nord Stream 2 project was launched in 2016, Trump managed to stave off its completion throughout his term before handing off the battle to the Biden administration.
3 thoughts on “Biden gives Putin the Nord Stream prize and gets nothing in return”
he didn’t “hand it off”.
Germany is not and has never been an ally of the US or any nation of righteous peoples. Russia has. Get over this senseless pathetic mind numbing hate for Russia, once again standing mighty in defense of her Christiam civilization.
Prof. VDH –
The Russians want to sell their natural gas to Germany. The Germans want to purchase cheap Russian gas (produced at low cost from conventional reservoirs and cheaply transported through a pipeline) to power their economy and heat German homes. They agree to construct a pipeline named NordStream 2 to transport this gas. Looks to me like a business deal that is none of our business.
Of course, we would prefer that the Germans buy our expensive natural gas, produced by fracking tight shale formations (a business model, by the way, which results in little or no profit for the shareholder). Gas which then has to be liquefied and loaded onto a LNG tanker for a trip across the Atlantic.
Unlike the U.S., the Germans don’t have a Military-Industrial Complex they have to feed. The Germans realize that the Russian economy is about the size of Canada’s and that Russia is not going to march into Central Europe. Rather than prepare for war with Russia, the Germans prefer to do business with them.
Insofar as Ukraine is concerned……to paraphrase the Mexican President Porfirio Diaz, “Poor Ukraine, so far from God, so close to Russia.” This impoverished and corrupt country has the misfortune of living in a bad neighborhood. The best Ukraine can hope for is Finlandization. Much as the placing of IRBMs in Cuba by the Soviet Union in 1962 was an existential security threat to the U.S. that JFK was willing to risk nuclear war over to stop, so is the threat of a NATO-aligned Ukraine being a staging area for offensive nuclear weapons an existential security threat for the Russians. Russia will go to war to keep Ukraine from becoming a member of NATO.
Back in the era of Reagan, Gorbachev, and GHW Bush there was an opportunity to envision a totally new relationship between the West and Russia. Unfortunately, it would have taken some humility and empathy on our part to make the leap into this new world, and we lacked both attributes. We were the global hyperpower and the world would dance to our tune. And as I noted above, the MIC had to be fed, which required a world-class adversary to justify the weapons programs and bloated defense budgets (this was before the rise of the China threat).
Now the hyperpower is bankrupt, wracked by internal dissent and division, and overextended militarily around the globe. We are so inept at the conduct of our foreign policy that we drive our adversaries China and Russia into an embrace of mutual interest, and are preparing to do the same with Russia and Germany due to our inept meddling in their pipeline deal.
I am no Kremlinologist, but observers of that scene whose judgment I respect claim that compared to men waiting in the wings, Putin comes off as a liberal democrat. Many of these men are acolytes of the noxious Russian nationalist and anti-Semite Aleksandr Dugin. Once one of these men takes the reins of power, it will be too late. Another opportunity missed. Guess that is just the American way!