Proponents of the Putin Nord Stream 2 pipeline have rejoiced too soon.
After Donald Trump was voted out of office, many German politicians hoped for a “new beginning” in German-American relations and, after Joe Biden’s inauguration next January, for a resumption of what felt like President Barack Obama’s cuddle course towards Germany.
But the euphoria about the end of the Trump era could be followed by a rude awakening for many.
Because in the biggest German-American point of controversy, which is the Russian Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 2, Joe Biden will tighten the reins again in the next few months in order to finally bring the Kremlin’s prestige project to failure – including the nearly three billion Euros of German investments and unrestricted support from the federal government.
Republicans and Democrats in the US Senate have agreed on the heaviest sanctions ever against active supporters of the project. These sanctions are part of the National Defense Licensing Act (NDAA), which will be passed in December and implemented by Joe Biden from January. It provides for sanctions against every insurer of companies and ships involved in the further construction of Nord Stream 2 as well as sanctions against the technical certification companies of the further construction by Gazprom.
This was first reported by the “Bloomberg” news portal on November 11, and BILD can confirm the information. After all: sanctions against German authorities due to the approval of the pipeline are off the table.
Nevertheless, according to BILD information, gas experts in Europe expect the new US sanctions not only to delay the construction of Nord Stream 2, but also to end it forever under Joe Biden – although 95 percent of the tubes have been completed.
Joe Bidens Team explained about it a few weeks ago that the new president would “continue to reject Nord Stream 2 as a ‘fundamentally bad deal’” in order to “strengthen Europe’s energy independence”.
In the past few years it had always been said that Donald Trump and his belligerent ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, would only reject the Russian pipeline “to sell Germany American liquid gas”. A diversionary maneuver, as it turns out now.
“Nord Stream 2 supporters have long tried to describe the US resistance to the Gazprom project as ‘Trump initiated’. It was a guilt-through-attribution tactic because President Trump is unpopular in many European countries for good reason, “said Benjamin L. Schmitt, researcher at Harvard Smithsonian Center and European energy security advisor to the US State Department for the Obama / Biden administration .
In fact, however, “the resistance to Nord Stream 2 is the same in democratic and republican governments”. One should not forget that “it was Vice President Joe Biden who condemned Nord Stream 2 in August 2016 as the first high-ranking US official with strong words,” Schmitt told BILD.
Nord Stream 2 brings together Democrats and Republicans
Joe Biden expert and ex-NATO general secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen also contradicts the German representation that the resistance against Nord Stream 2 is a “Trump matter”. Instead, it is one of the few issues that “unites Democrats and Republicans”.
Speaking to BILD, Rasmussen said: “President-elect Biden has long believed that this project represents an act of self-harm for the security and resilience of the entire NATO alliance. The pipeline will continue to be a thorn in the side of German-American relations, and the election of Biden and the poisoning of Mr Nawalny should trigger a rethink in Berlin. “
Rasmussen, who is a Danish himself, regrets that the threat of sanctions will be directed primarily against the certification company Det Norske Veritas, which the Danish government has commissioned. This would force the company to “choose between plague and cholera”. Ultimately, however, “most Danes would be happy if the Nord Stream 2 pipeline found its sinking in our waters,” Rasmussen told BILD.
Biden’s strategy will go beyond sanctions
According to energy law expert Alan Riley, the new US sanctions would “at least disrupt the construction process”. The scientist at the think tank “Atlantic Council” told BILD that Gazprom would “look long to find certification companies and insurers, that will delay the project”.
But Riley believes the sanctions are only part of the new US president’s strategy to put the pipeline on hold forever. According to him, Joe Biden is “in a position, unlike Donald Trump, to develop a strategy to get German support for the blockade of Nord Stream 2”.
Riley is certain that Biden could propose Germany “a comprehensive security package for green energy” that “processes the use of gas from Russia and replaces it with renewable resources”.
The “greatest threat to Nord Stream 2”, so the British professor literally, is when “the superpower America shifts into higher gear and no longer idles against the project”.
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