Again it is about a pipeline

Again it is about a pipeline

Image: Harald Hoyer, CC BY-SA 2.0

U.S. government threatens trade war if Germany continues to pursue Nord Stream 2 pipeline project with Russia

When it comes to geostrategic interests, renewable energies play virtually no role, despite all the talk of a climate turnaround. They are also predominantly decentralized and local, while fossil fuels continue to feed the world’s primary energy or bloodstream, and therefore generally play a role in geopolitical conflicts. One may ame that this is one of the reasons why Washington has scrapped the agreement with Iran. Not to support Israel or out of fear of nuclear disarmament, but to eliminate Iran as an oil supplier.

In the background of Donald Trump’s threatened trade war against Germany are, as already under Obama, economic interests to free Europe from energy dependence on Russia. In the process, the U.S. is supposed to be "Making America Rough Again" as well as benefiting allies who supply Europe with gas and oil instead of Russia (Behind the public’s back, the EU is sponsoring its own gas infrastructure). Ukraine, through which pipelines from Russia to Europe continue to run, is a Trojan horse to prevent Nord Stream 2. But Washington is not at all concerned with Ukraine continuing to benefit from Russian exports – $3 billion is expected to spool into its coffers in 2018 (Ukraine is becoming an insecure gas transit country) – because since fracking began, the U.S. has been fighting over ways to make other states dependent on American oil and gas.

At their last meeting in April, Donald Trump reportedly openly threatened German Chancellor Merkel, who is meeting with Vladimir Putin in Sochi today, with a trade war if it pursues the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea bypassing Ukraine. German, U.S. and European government officials have said this, the Wall Street Journal reports. Merkel said at the meeting with Ukrainian President Poroshenko that Ukraine’s interests as a transit country would be taken into account and that guarantees would be enforced. This was apparently not convincing for Washington.

In Washington’s view, Nord Stream 2 would increase Europe’s dependence on Russian gas. In addition, there are fears that Russia is installing underwater surveillance technology with the pipeline. At least that is what Sandra Oudkirk of the U.S. Department of Defense, responsible for energy policy, said. The threat also came as the EU declared it would protect European companies trading with Iran from U.S. sanctions. Nord Stream 2 involves corporations from several European countries in addition to Gazprom: Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Wintershall, Uniper SE, OMV AG and Engie SA.

Again it is about a pipeline

According to Oudkirk, sanctions are a result of a law passed last year due to the intervention in Ukraine and interference in the U.S. elections, which allows the U.S. government to intervene against Russian energy projects: "This means that any pipeline project, and there are many projects that may be affected, is at increased risk of sanctions." The U.S. is opposed to Nord Stream 2 because of security concerns, it said, pointing to uberwachungsstechnik, without elaborating, suggesting that is just pretextual.

Oudkirk made clear what is required from Washington instead of Nord Stream 2. Europe could improt gas from the Caspian Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean, Algeria, Australia or the USA. That she added that Washington was "neutral", as long as it is not Russian gas, is not really convincing.

It is clear that it amounts to a direct confrontation of Germany with the USA. At present, a compromise seems hardly possible. Possibly Trump could accept Nord Stream 2 if Germany relents on Iran agreement. It seems hardly conceivable that Berlin could prevail against Trump with regard to Iran and realize the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which could diminish U.S. hegemony and, with increased energy prices, give Russia an advantage. In addition, it should be prevented that the anti-Russian sanctions are undermined and not Washington-controlled relations of Germany and other EU countries with Russia are established.

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