Robert HARNEIS -TDO- (FRANCE)- Do as we say or we will ruin you! So runs the latest US sanctions threat against Germany. In a letter dated 5th August, three US senators have claimed that if the port of Sassnitz-Mukran on the island of Rügen does not stop supporting the work on the Russian pipeline under the Baltic to Germany, it will suffer “financial destruction”.
American politicians no longer seem to attach any importance to the way they are perceived by one of their closest allies in Europe. The US is already withdrawing 12,000 troops from Germany.
The United States has opposed Nord stream 2 for years and managed to halt construction with only 6% of the work remaining to be completed, as a result of sanctions imposed in 2019. Washington claims to believe that the completion of the pipeline will increase European dependence on Russia and therefore increase Russian influence.
What is true is that the US does not want to see growing cooperation between Russia and the rest of Europe, especially Germany the EU economic power house. They also wish to replace Russian gas with their own tanker carried LNG. They are also concerned that the completed pipeline will enable Russia to bypass Ukraine. This will damage the bankrupt Ukrainian economy that relies on transit fees to pay its way. No transit fees mean more financial support from Kiev’s allies notably the US.
Over 120 companies, mostly German, but some French, are in the firing line. German officials have objected strongly to « an intrusion on EU sovereignty”. However the EU is slow to react because the Baltic states and Poland are close allies of the US and oppose the pipeline. Thus the EU is divided.
The proximity of the US elections in November are an obvious incentive to US politicians to beat the drum against Russia. However the pipeline is a vital issue for Germany as it closes its nuclear industry and relies on high pollution coal to fire its power stations.
Whatever happens the giant Russian national gas company Gazprom, the owner of the pipeline, says it will finish the work unaided if necessary.