Nord Stream 2 is ready to pump gas in Germany
RRussian President Vladimir Putin announced on June 4 that the first line of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline has been completed. Once Berlin gives the green light, the pipeline will be able to start pumping gas within 10 days. The second line has around 34 miles to complete, which the Russian government estimates will take around two months.
Most Russian oil and gas pipelines cross Eastern Europe to reach the West. But Russia has already exported energy directly to Germany, the European Union’s largest economy, since the original Nord Stream pipeline became operational about 10 years ago. Once Nord Stream 2 is fully operational, it will be able to transport 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
From Germany, Berlin would export gas to the rest of Western Europe. Nord Stream 2 has the potential to make Germany the energy hub of half of Europe.
Nord Stream 2 is so controversial due to the fact that it bypasses Eastern Europe. Many of Russia’s major oil pipelines pass through countries like Ukraine and Poland on their way to the west. From Crimea in 2014, Russia gradually seized Ukrainian territory. Kiev fears that Russia is considering conquering the whole country. Putin has not yet annexed Polish territory. But many Poles are still terrified of a Russian invasion.
Russia’s energy exports have so far discouraged Putin from taking too bold steps on Kiev and Warsaw. Fossil fuels account for over 42% of Russia’s exports. Doing anything that could shut down the pipelines would hit the Russian economy where it hurts. Ukraine and Poland also receive billions of dollars in transit fees from Moscow.
With Nord Stream 2 now operational, Russia could turn off the taps in Eastern Europe without as many repercussions.
Poland is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally of the United States. Washington is (on paper) obliged to protect Ukraine in accordance with the Budapest memorandum. Because of its security obligations, America under Donald Trump’s administration has imposed sanctions on entities building the pipeline.
US President Joe Biden first expressed his opposition to the pipeline. During his confirmation hearing in the US Senate, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was “determined to do everything in our power to prevent this completion.” [of Nord Stream 2]. “
But Biden dropped the sanctions last month. According to the Biden administration, stopping the completion of Nord Stream 2 was not worth straining America’s relationship with Germany.
So, Nord Stream 2 is due to start pumping gas this month.
Ukraine takes this seriously. In an interview with Axios on June 4, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he would hold a meeting with Biden “anytime and anywhere on the planet” to get him to block Nord Stream 2 from happen. “It is a weapon, a real weapon … in the hands of the Russian Federation,” he said. “It is not very understandable … that the bullet for this weapon could possibly be supplied by a country as large as the United States.”
Zelensky’s fears are not irrational. Putin recently said Ukraine’s status as a transit country is now in question. The pipeline that currently crosses Ukraine will only be operational now, according to Putin, if Kiev shows Russia some “goodwill”. In the coming months, the situation in Ukraine could change dramatically.
Germany is, like America and Poland, a NATO member. It is therefore curious that it supports Nord Stream 2. Being the energy hub of Western Europe, Germany would have almost as much influence over its neighbors as Russia would have over its neighbors.
And Germany could be more encouraged to support the project.
The default currency for international trade is the US dollar. But Putin wants to challenge this. In his June 4 announcement, Putin said: âThe euro is quite acceptable for us in terms of paying for gas. It can be done, of course, and probably should be done. Bypassing the dollar completely would help Russia escape US economic sanctions. Putin had previously accused Washington of using the dollar for “economic and political war” purposes.
Germany is by far the largest economy in the EU. The European Central Bank (bce) is located in Frankfurt. Including Germany, five of the world’s 20 largest economies use the bce. Vatican City, seat of the world’s largest religion, uses it. The euro is already a major international currency. But it is not at the dollar level.
What Putin is offering Berlin is a chance to set a precedent for the euro to become an international currency at dollar level. Many countries would like to abandon the dollar as the default currency for international trade. Nord Stream 2 could help the euro look like a more attractive alternative. And Germany would be the country that would benefit the most.
If Russia abandoned the dollar in international transactions, it would be, according to Putin, “a blow to the currency”.
“But,” he said, “we don’t want to do this.”
Putin does not want the currency of his greatest geopolitical enemy to be hit with a “serious blow”. It’s about as believable as when Belarus, Russia’s satellite state, said it resented Palestinian terrorists when they grounded a plane and kidnapped a dissident journalist last month.
But does Germany want to do it?
NATOFirst Secretary-General Hastings Ismay said the organization’s goal was “to keep the Russians on the outside, the Americans on the inside and the Germans on the ground.” The Nord Stream 2 pipeline undermines these three objectives. He keeps the Russians in Europe. It helps kick America out of international trade.
And that drives up Germany.
“Nord Stream 2 binds Russia and Germany in a way that undermines NATO,” wrote Trumpet editor-in-chief Gerald Flurry in his 2018 article âGermany’s and Russia’s Secret War on Americaâ. âIn fact, although Russia and Germany won’t say it, this pipeline project is clearly intended to destroy NATO.
âWhy would these nations want to do this? Well, it’s easy to see why Russia would do itâ¦ What is not so obvious is the fact that Germany also wants to eliminate NATO.“
Please read âGermany’s and Russia’s Secret War on Americaâ to find out why. Also request Mr. Flurry’s free booklet The prophesied “Prince of Russia”, to learn more about what Vladimir Putin’s rule in Russia means to the world.