President Joe Biden just paved the way for the isolation of former Soviet states by greenlighting Russia’s controversial Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline that aims to bypass Ukraine in favor of a direct route to Germany through the Baltic Sea.
The Obama and Trump administrations each opposed the pipeline’s construction, considering, as The Wall Street Journal noted, that the pipeline would allow the Kremlin to “increase European dependence on its natural gas, then use it to blackmail U.S. allies.”
Still, the Biden administration is caving, as expected.
A senior State Department official announced Wednesday that a deal had been reached with Germany allowing construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to go forward.
“While we remain opposed to the pipeline, we reached a judgment that sanctions would not stop the pipeline and would undermine critical alliances with Germany and other European allies,” the official said, according to the Washington Examiner.
“We are making the best of a bad hand, and in doing so, we are making sure we protect our partner, Ukraine,” the official said.
Fox Business reported that Germany’s eagerness to lower its carbon emissions with low-cost, cleaner-burning natural gas took precedence over concerns about Russian President Vladimir Putin as the country continually pushed for pipeline construction to continue despite the previous U.S. administration’s wishes.
The administration of former President Donald Trump believed Germany’s deal not only would be economically detrimental to Ukraine — which, along with other former Soviet nations, currently supplies a portion of natural gas to Russia — but also would “reward Russia for bad behavior” after it annexed Crimea, according to Fox Business.
In brief, completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would leave Ukraine economically defenseless against Russia.
According to Fox Business, Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed to prevent the Kremlin from abusing its newfound powers, but how exactly do they plan to prevent any overreaches?
“Germany has promised to reverse flows of Russian gas to Ukraine if supplies are cut off,” the report said, but this does nothing to prevent Russia from isolating the rest of Europe by cutting off their natural gas supplies as well.
It’s a one-way approach to a two-way street, and the promises seem empty.
And, after a reduction in U.S. oil production under Biden’s watch, it’s safe to say our European allies would have few places to turn if any Russian schemes should arise.
As we know from Cold War history, such natural resources reigned among the Soviet Union’s largest exports (in fact, declines in oil prices during the 1980s are believed to have devalued the ruble and helped cripple the Soviet economy).
Perhaps the Russians want the ability to manipulate demand for such resources because they don’t want to experience a similar failure again.
And it appears the Biden administration is willing to grant their wish.
“With this single action — no longer trying to stop completion of Russia’s natural gas pipeline to Germany — Biden has done more to benefit the Kremlin in 6 months than Trump did in 4 years,” journalist and author Glenn Greenwald wrote on Twitter.
“Beyond trying to block the pipeline, Trump sent lethal arms to Ukraine & bombed Assad!”
With this single action -- no longer trying to stop completion of Russia's natural gas pipeline to Germany -- Biden has done more to benefit the Kremlin in 6 months than Trump did in 4 years. Beyond trying to block the pipeline, Trump sent lethal arms to Ukraine & bombed Assad! https://t.co/fZGoqC9iY9
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 21, 2021
It’s ironic to see the strident policy difference between the Trump and Biden administrations taking shape in this way — especially considering the left’s long history of accusing Trump of being too “cozy” with Russia amid the collusion hoax.
Let’s hope the left’s dream of green energy comes to fruition soon.
Otherwise, we may have an energy market dominated by Russia.