Biden’s Nord Stream 2 Cancellation Tough Talk Over Russia Ukraine Invasion

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Biden has yet to demonstrate explicitly how he intends to shut down the highly consequential Nord Stream 2 pipeline linking Russia and Germany in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, with allies and adversaries alike in Europe casting doubt on the latest White House countermeasure efforts.

In Summary

  • President Joe Biden has made no specifics on how he would shut down the Nord Stream 2 pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine. Furthermore, when asked about Tuesday’s latest threats, one of the top US envoys to Europe remained mum on specifics.
  • Tass cited an unknown source saying that European countries are wary of Biden’s plans for implementation.
  • According to an energy expert, Europe can only rely on Russian gas to address its economic crisis.
  • Germany has invested in Russia for the last two decades to spur the country’s economic development. According to analysts, the time has come for Germany to refocus its relations with Russia and China.
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Pipework At The Nord Stream 2 Gas Receiving Station In Lubmin, Germany. PHOTO COURTESY

Biden’s Threat to Terminate Nord Stream 2 if Russia Invades Ukraine: Is it a Threat or a Bluff?

President Joe Biden subtly declared Monday during a joint press conference alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz after a bilateral meeting at the White House, “I promise you we’ll be able to” bring an end to the energy pipeline – which runs through the Baltic Sea but has not yet begun operations. The commander in chief’s ultimatum was the latest salvo Washington has launched at Moscow in recent weeks as Western powers have grown more concerned over Russia’s alleged massing of more than 100,000 troops on its border with the former Soviet state.

Biden and Germany’s Scholz emphasize the importance of unity in the face of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

The administration has boasted about the extraordinary economic sanctions it has prepared to instantly target Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest circle in the event of an invasion, and it has deployed or mobilized thousands of US forces for possible operations in Eastern Europe. Yet it has yet to reveal specifics on how it intends to pry a crucial supplier of Russian energy from a close ally & Europe’s largest economy.

Indeed, when queried about the latest threats on Tuesday, one of the top US envoys to Europe remained mum on specifics.

“President Biden made it abundantly clear that if Russia invades Ukraine in any way, Nord Stream 2 would be abandoned,” Michael Carpenter, the Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, told reporters. “He had excellent meetings in Washington with Germany’s chancellor.”

“And we have held extensive consultations with our German allies over the last many weeks & months, in fact, since July of 2021,” Carpenter stated, referring to a July 2021 deal in which Germany and the US agreed to respond to Russian attempts to use energy as a weapon against Ukraine or other regional countries. “We will continue to hold those conversations in the future.”

On the other hand, Scholz refused to speak as definitely as Biden did at their public appearance and subsequent media interviews.

“As Vice President Biden stated, we are bracing for that possibility. And you can be certain that Germany, together with all of its allies, most notably the United States, will take the same steps. “That situation will remain unchanged,” Scholz told CNN on Monday.

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. PHOTO COURTESY

Russia appears to call President Biden’s bluff.

Russia appears unconcerned about the threats and said Tuesday that it is prepared to press the Biden administration to make good on its commitments.

Ahead of Monday’s high-profile meeting between Putin and French President Emanuel Macron, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the topic of Nord Stream 2 “can’t be a primary topic of conversation,” but it may come up in passing.

And Russia’s state news agency Tass featured a post early Tuesday morning quoting many Russian energy experts arguing that Biden’s remarks serve to exacerbate the situation in Ukraine and compel European allies to accept US natural gas imports rather than Russia’s. It cited an unnamed source claiming that European countries remain uncertain about Biden’s intentions and that German officials privately express far less confidence in their willingness to stand with the US in the event of military action in and around Ukraine.

Russia is an infinitely valuable energy supply for Europe.

“If the Europeans are to overcome this crisis, they must rely on Russian gas and strengthen energy links with Russia,” Alexei Grivach, deputy chairman of the National Energy Security Fund, told the Valdai Discussion Club, Russia’s leading international forum. “The remaining options are lengthy, expensive, and risky.”

Western analysts are not always opposed to Grivach’s assessment.

Ulrich Speck, a senior visiting fellow at The German Marshall Fund in Berlin, notes that Germany has invested in Russia for two decades to spur economic modernization, similar to the US’s efforts in China. Both Western nations felt that these investments could result in political change.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin. PHOTO COURTESY

“That time has passed,” Speck remarked Monday during a Hudson Institute event. “Our economic ties with China and Russia are no longer necessary for our political well-being. This is the point at which Germany’s Nord Stream 2 project becomes problematic.”

“Now that all of these economic ties have become geopolitically problematic, Germany’s position toward Russia and China must be revised.” That is a significant reorientation process,” he noted. “It takes a significant amount of time. Former Chancellor Angela Merkel was ultimately unwilling to do so, notwithstanding her occasional toughness with Russia. However, she did not significantly alter the nature of this relationship. Thus, I believe that the awareness that we must accept tensions with Russia is the major challenge for Germans and the German psyche.”

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