What does the German gas deal mean for NATO? | Editorial columns
When the United States created NATO, one of the main goals of the alliance was to serve as a western wall to defend Germany against the 400,000 Russian troops on the east side of the Elbe.
Seventy years later, Germany decided to double its dependence on Vladimir Putin’s Russia for the natural gas necessary for the functioning of the German economy, despite the opposition of its great protector, the States -United.
The Biden administration has decided to lift sanctions against Matthias Warnig, Putin’s ally whose company, Nord Stream 2 AG, is laying the pipeline under the Baltic Sea connecting Russia to Germany, which is now 95% complete .
When completed, Nord Stream 2 will become Moscow’s main supplier of natural gas to Germany and will reduce Kiev from the hundreds of millions of dollars in transit charges it collects each year to allow Russian gas to flow through Ukraine to the UK. ‘Germany.
Previously, Joe Biden and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had appeared steadfast in opposition. Blinken said: “We think the pipeline (Nord Stream 2) is a bad idea. It advances the interests of Russia and undermines the interests of Europe and ours. This actually goes against the very principles that the EU has set out in terms of energy security and not to be too dependent on one country, including, in this case, Russia. “
As late as March, the Biden administration made clear its commitment to comply with sanctions legislation put in place with bipartisan support from Congress and called on companies involved in Nord Stream 2 to “immediately drop the work on the pipeline ”.
Ukraine is stunned and outraged. Its parliament, the Rada, passed a resolution urging Congress to “use all available tools provided by US law to completely and irreversibly halt construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline by applying blocking sanctions to all participants in the pipeline. this Russian geopolitical project ”.
Why did Biden and Blinken bow down? Was it to set the table for Biden’s June summit with Putin?
The deciding factor has probably been that Nord Stream 2 is pretty much complete and that the main continental ally of the United States, Germany, is fully committed to the project. Prime Minister Angela Merkel, who is stepping down this year, has approved the deal with Putin’s Russia and her legacy is now tied to its completion.
Germany’s dependence on Russian gas will certainly increase as Berlin, as it plans to do, phase out its coal-fired and nuclear power plants.
This raises a question about NATO and the commitment of its 30 members to treat an attack on one as an attack on all.
Would a Germany that doubles its dependence on Russia for the natural gas that powers its economy be ready to go to war with that same Russia and send German troops to fight alongside NATO?
Would Berlin be ready to declare war on its own gas station?
Biden’s rise against Nord Stream 2 is surprising from another point of view. He and his team have proven to be real climate change fanatics who want to see gas and oil go quickly.
On the first day of his tenure, Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, angering Canadians and cutting 11,000 American jobs. Biden then banned any new oil or gas drilling permits on federal lands.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has just told a Canadian energy company, Enbridge, that it must shut down a controversial pipeline that passes under the Straits of Mackinac, amid growing fears that a spill would spell disaster for the region.
For 67 years, Enbridge transported oil and gas from western Canada through Michigan and the Great Lakes to refineries in Ontario.
But Michigan now says that section of the pipeline is too risky to continue operating.
Earlier in May, America received a wake-up call about the vulnerability of its energy supply. Colonial Pipeline, which transports refined gasoline and jet fuel from Texas on the East Coast to New York, has been forced to shut down after being hit by ransomware.
The attack was apparently carried out by a criminal group, not a nation state. But the damage caused was considerable.
Half of the gas stations in several east coast states had to close when their gas pumps were exhausted by long lines of panicked motorists. To get their pipeline back to full service, Colonial had to pay millions.
This demonstrated the vulnerability of America’s energy system and its new technology to the kind of cyber attacks that enemies far more serious than the criminal gang that launched the attack on the Colonial Pipeline could launch.
Fifty years ago, we faced a serious threat to the energy security and independence of the United States: an oil embargo imposed by the Saudis and other Arab OPEC countries in retaliation for the aid. Richard Nixon’s military man who allowed Israel to survive and win in the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
Are we always ready for something of this magnitude?