Why Putin's Pipeline Is Welcome in Germany
During a joint interview with Jens Stoltenberg, the Norwegian secretary-general of NATO, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, fresh from his bout with the Chinese in Anchorage, took on Angela Merkel and the Germans.
Issue: Nord Stream 2, the Baltic Sea pipeline Vladimir Putin is building to complement his Nord Stream 1 and carry more natural gas from Russia to Germany, and from there to other NATO nations.
The original Nord Stream pipeline, also consisting of two strands of pipe along the Baltic Sea floor, was completed in 2011.
In his meeting with Stoltenberg in Brussels, Blinken warned that Western companies participating in building Nord Stream 2, which is 90% complete, would face sanctions mandated by Congress:
"President Biden has been very clear in saying that he believes the pipeline is a bad idea; it's bad for Europe, bad for the United States," said Blinken, adding, U.S. law "requires us to sanction companies participating in the efforts to complete the pipeline."
What is behind American opposition to Russian natural gas going to Germany, and from there to NATO Europe?
First, the pipelines bypass Ukraine and Poland, cutting those countries out of the transit revenue. Second, we want NATO Germany to buy our own shale-produced natural gas.
Third, we object to a pivotal NATO ally increasing its present dependency for energy on the very nation against which the United States has defended that ally for 70 years.
Why are you Germans buying Russian gas when we are protecting you from Russian aggression, the Americans ask. It's a fair question.
Last summer, an exasperated President Donald Trump announced plans to withdraw 12,000 troops from Germany in what was described as a "strategic" repositioning of U.S. forces in Europe.