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Feb 17, 2021
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Nord Stream 2 – gas pipeline intertwined with geopolitical line

A little about Germany’s dependence on Russia and Russia’s dependence on the German market

The diplomatic and sanctions battles over the completion of the construction of the pan-European and trans-European Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines are increasingly highlighting the contradictions of both different business communities and individual clans within the political class of Germany and the United States.

Moreover, the economies of the two countries are closely integrated and largely interdependent. A significant stratum of the German ruling elite is closely connected with the American directive clans, and among the current politicians at the federal and state levels there are many who can rightfully be attributed to the “agents of influence” of the Washington Regional Committee.

It is reckless to forget that Germany, formally sovereign, still remains an occupied country, where a foreign military contingent and bases with stored nuclear weapons are stationed. And the military-political leadership in Berlin is limited in the choice of accents in foreign policy by obligations within the framework of NATO, created by the Anglo-Saxon powers, according to textbook folklore, in order to “keep the Russians away and the Germans in subjection.” (To keep the Russians and Germans out of the way)

However, the shackles of transatlantic solidarity fail to undo the original motivation of private capital to pursue purely profit.

The consistent subversive activities of American big business in tandem with the administration and the US Congress against the additional gas transportation infrastructure “Nord Stream 2” became an expressive illustration of the conflict of interests of economic entities of Germany and the United States. America’s 2019 European Energy Security Act (European Energy Security Protection Act), confirmed in December 2020, constitutes direct interference in the affairs of third countries. There is a good reason for this.

For Germany, guaranteed replenishment with cheap energy resources, as before, in the 1970s, will serve as a kind of doping and will ultimately affect the competitiveness of the export-oriented industry. Even if a significant share of Gazprom’s blue fuel goes to heating homes and cooking on gas stoves. Washington also doesn’t like the fact that, thanks to the abundant supply of Siberian natural gas, Germany will turn into the largest energy hub in Europe. The valve will be in the hands of the German operators of gas streams.

In order to prevent the strengthening of competitors, the Americans launched a frontal attack on the pan-European mega-project. First, the Trump administration scared the Swiss contractor with reprisals Allseas, forcing him to stop work, and then blacklisted the pipelayer Fortuna in accordance with the law on “Countering America’s adversaries through sanctions” in order to finally prevent the completion of the construction of the gas pipeline, 94-95% ready (more than 2300 km out of about 2460 km).

“A pipeline that is 95 percent complete is a pipeline that is zero percent complete. Now it’s just a piece of metal at the bottom of the ocean. ” – Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, son of a Cuban émigré who fought alongside Castro, announced triumphantly. Cruz has become a trickster in the community of opponents of Nord Stream.

It is not surprising that, to use the medical term, a “hotbed of stagnant excitement” has formed in the business environment in Germany, although, to be more exact, irritation caused by the US threats to punish everyone who will cooperate with the European consortium laying an additional two lines of the gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Not only Germans are nervous. About 120 companies from 12 European countries, which include banks, insurers, ports, component suppliers, construction firms, and so on, may be under the sanctions heel.

As a result, a consortium of European energy majors composed of German Wintershall and Uniper, Austrian OMV, French Angie, Royal Dutch Shell (Great Britain and the Netherlands) and the Russian “Gazprom” informed the German political establishment that he would go to the courts to reimburse the spent capital investments and compensate for the “lost” profits. The bill will go to billions of euros.

In September 2020, two authors, Thomas Sigmund (Thomas Sigmund), Matthias Brugman (Matthias Bruggmann), the pages of the influential German newspaper “Handelsblat” recalled the enduring value of what was called the German (!) word during the years of “detente” Realpolitik… Real in the sense of pragmatism, devoid of ideological prejudices. The main idea of ​​the authors is “Anger in politics is a bad advisor”: “At the height of the 1973 oil crisis,“ Russian gas ”began to flow to Germany. Then Russia was still part of the USSR, and first of all the Americans were furious with rage. The energy partnership between Germany and Russia has been going on for almost 50 years. Over these half a century, there have been many political conflicts, from the introduction of Soviet troops into Afghanistan with the subsequent boycott of the Olympics in Moscow to the recent aggravation of the Crimean crisis “… After this reminder, Sigmund and Brugman state: “The German government has always acted in line with real politics. It divided purely economic and political projects “

At the end of January, Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel uttered the key phrase: “I haven’t changed my opinion on Nord Stream 2 in my main”, however, making a reservation: “It was important for me that Ukraine received a gas contract and we, of course, will discuss this with the new American administration.”… Another phrase is more significant: in any case, “extraterritorial sanctions” are “not the norm”.

The conclusion suggests itself: German business politicians are snarling. So far, rather timidly. With reservations. With an eye on Big Brother. But she snaps, realizing that if he gives slack, they will crush him to a crunch in the spine. And it seems that the signals from Berlin reached Washington without distortion, as evidenced by the negotiations that began in February, focused nominally on the imposition of sanctions against the participants in the pan-European infrastructure project.

The key point is the introduction by Germany of a moratorium on the completion of the Nord Stream 2. So this new turn of events is seen on the surface. However, according to Handelsblat’s sources, the exchange of pieces looks quite different. Washington will lift the sanctions if Berlin vows to apply the so-called. a mechanism for stopping the gas flow in the event that a “violation” of human rights by Russia is found.

What is it? Leak of “supersensitive” information? Or a newspaper duck? One way or another, there was an amazing coincidence: on February 6, the sanctioned pipelayer Fortuna, according to the global positioning systems of sea vessels, resumed work in the exclusive economic zone of Denmark, in Danish waters, where it was escorted a year and two and a half months ago American sanctions. Completion of pipe-laying on the final section is scheduled for the end of April.

It is not excluded that the gas pipeline “big game” is entering the endgame. The hidden springs of a possible compromise can be found either in the “green” agenda of Joe Biden, who has little sympathy for his energy companies, or in the new administration’s desire to patch holes in trust between the United States and European allies. So far, these are only versions.

In the history of the trans-Baltic gas pipeline, the infrastructure branch has intertwined with the geopolitical line. Probably, it is worth reminding the Germans from history with monotonous regularity. History is a good teacher if you learn its lessons.

In late 1942, the US Undersecretary of State came up with an initiative to vivise Germany when it falls, dividing it into five independent states. At the Moscow Conference in 1943, London and Washington proposed to split Germany into three parts. At the conference of the “big three” in Tehran in the same 1943, the idea was voiced to cut Germany into five parts again, to separate and “internationalize”, that is, to put under control its industrial heart – the Ruhr region. The USSR, Russia’s predecessor, rejected the plan, stressing that such measures would lead to an increase in Germany’s nationalism and revanchist ambitions.

According to the plan of Hans Morgenthau, Germany should have been turned “into a potato field.” It was supposed to split the potential competitor no longer into five, not three, but into two parts, forming northern and southern Germany. At the conference in Potsdam, the idea of ​​creating South Germany by uniting Bavaria and Austria was thrown into the discussion. And again, the USSR did not allow the destruction of German statehood and the dismemberment of a single nation. And in 1989 – despite pressure from London and Paris – it was the Soviet Union that sponsored the unification of Germany.

Today, objectively, although this process is long, new points of contact of interests of Russia and Germany are emerging, which has already generated panic in the countries of the Anglo-Saxon axis. A graphic confirmation was the publication on February 13 in the British weekly Spectator of an article about the ongoing negotiations on the pipeline of contention: “Biden vs. Merkel: the battle for Russian gas is heating up”.

Reasonably pointing out that the decision of the Merkel government, taken in the wake of the tragedy at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, to curtail nuclear power, as well as to abandon coal as an atmospheric pollutant, led to an increase in the role of natural gas for industrial production, and Russia remains the main supplier of this fuel, the author informs readers that for this reason “The political establishment is united in its support for the pipeline” (political establishment united in support of the pipeline)

Citing the joyous response in Germany to the interim successes of testing the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, opposing it to the cold reception of the vaccine from the Anglo-Swedish company AstraZeneca, the author comes to a significant and alarming conclusion for himself: “The vaccines and the pipeline increase Germany’s dependence on Russia and Russia’s dependence on the German market. We are witnessing the beginning of a new friendship “

Worst of all, according to Spectator, is that Armin Laschet, who is replacing Merkel, the chairman of the Christian Democratic Union party since January 16, 2021, the Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, is set for a constructive dialogue with Moscow. Earlier Laschet condemned “anti-Putin populism” and accused the United States of helping terrorists from the IS group banned in Russia * in the war against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The author of the British weekly is not satisfied with Merkel herself, who has recently begun to frequently mention the “strategic autonomy” of the European Union, which logically means one thing: the willingness to get away from the US patronage and assert its independence. Including in the field of energy security, for which Washington has assumed responsibility out of habit. The conclusion of the author of the publication looks controversial, but symptomatic: “Thus, Nord Stream 2 and Europe’s confused vision of strategic autonomy will further alienate the EU and the US from each other.

… They say (with some exaggeration) that nobody in Europe loves us, except for the Germans, who also don’t really like us, and nevertheless. Of the many European nations, it is the Germans, whose small-scale and often skinny aristocracy reigned in Russia, as well as those Germans who remember the lessons of 75 years ago, who understand us a little better than others … This means that the third and fourth branches of the Nord Stream there is a chance not to remain empty.

Photo: REUTERS / Hannibal Hanschke

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