Nord Stream 2: A Key to the War in Ukraine

Beneath the soil of the Ukraine is a network of gas pipelines through which part of the Russian supply to Europe passes. Between 2004 and 2005, 80% of Russian gas destined for Europe passed through the Ukrainian subsurface. When Gazprom (the Russian state-owned energy giant) cut off supplies to the Ukrainians in January 2006 and January 2009, the Ukrainians appropriated the gas destined for Europe, resulting in huge losses for those countries highly dependent on Russian gas, and this in turn greatly discredited Russia as a supplier.

In order to avoid this Ukrainian transit system, the Russians decided to build two new gas pipelines. Gazprom said that linking a gas pipeline directly to Germany without the need to go through transit countries would avoid cutting off Russian gas exports to Western Europe, as had already happened twice. Thus, was born the Nord Stream (Northern Stream, Севеверный поток) project, a gas pipeline that would link Russia to Europe (directly to Germany via the Baltic Sea) without the need to pass through Ukraine or Belarus.

Since April 2006, Poland’s Defense Minister Radek Sikorski compared the agreements on building a gas pipeline to the German-Soviet non-aggression pact, the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact signed in the early morning of August 24, 1939, because Poland is particularly sensitive to agreements made over its head. Every pact made by Russia and Germany will be linked to that pact and will thus be demonized (this is how simplistic propaganda is—but it is equally effective, not because of the merit of the propagandists but because of the demerit of the ignorant masses, who abound).

The Swedish Minister of Defense, Mikael Odenberg, pointed to the project as a danger to Sweden’s security policy, as the gas pipeline passing through the Baltic would motivate the presence of the Russian Navy in Sweden’s economic zone, which the Russians would take advantage of to benefit their military intelligence. In fact, Putin justified the presence of the Russian Navy to ensure ecological security.

The German weekly Stern speculated that the fiber optic cable and repeater stations along the pipeline could be used for Russian espionage. But Nord Stream AG (the pipeline builder) responded by arguing that a fiber optic control cable was not necessary and had not even been planned. Gazprom’s Deputy Chairman of the Board, Alexander Medvedev, dismissed the issue by pointing out that “Some objections are put forward that are laughable – political, military or linked to spying. That is really surprising because in the modern world… it is laughable to say a gas pipeline is a weapon in a spy war.” Wherever the Russians are, there is always the fear of spies (there is not the same suspicion with the Yankees, despite Edward Snowden’s revelations—Hell is always on the other side).

The Rockefellerian Greenpeace also complained about the construction of the gas pipeline, since it would cross several zones catalogued as marine conservation areas.

On June 13, 2007, in response to ecological concerns, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, stated that “Russia fully respects the desire to provide for the 100% environmental sustainability of the project and that Russia is fully supportive of such an approach, and that all environmental concerns would be addressed in the process of environmental impact assessment.”

The pipeline was inaugurated on November 8, 2011, at a ceremony in the municipality of Lubmin (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev; also present were French Prime Minister François Fillon and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

There were also plans to build South Stream, a gas pipeline that was to run from Russia to Bulgaria, across the Black Sea, reaching Greece and Italy. But it was eventually cancelled in favor of Blue Stream, which carries natural gas from southern Russia to Turkey via the Black Sea. Thanks to this pipeline, Turkey is the second largest importer of Russian gas, second only to Germany.

While Germany was able to carry out the Nord Stream 1 project, Greece and Italy saw their South Stream project scrapped. This is a sign of who has more power in the pretentious European Union. But Nord Stream 2 has not been able to go that far and—as we shall see—the Germans have bowed to the dictates of the Americans.

Nord Stream 1 consists of two gas pipelines running from Vyborg (northwest Russia) to Greifswald (northeast Germany). It has the capacity to transport 55 billion cubic meters per year, although in 2021 it was capable of transporting 59.2 billion cubic meters. It is the pipeline through which the largest volume of gas to the EU passes.

Work on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline lasted from 2018 to 2021, and it is estimated that the pipeline material can last about 50 years. The pipeline starts from the Slavyanskaya compressor station near the port of Ust-Luga (in the Kingiseppsky district of Leningrad Oblast) to Greifswald (West Pomerania). In 2019 the Swiss company Allsea, which was in charge of laying the pipeline, abandoned the project and Gazprom had to complete it on its own. The first line was completed in June 2021 and the second completed in September. It was planned to open in mid-2022, which was intended to double the gas transported to 110 billion cubic meters per year. In addition to Gazprom, the partners to build Nord Stream 2 were Uniper, Wintershall, OMV, Engie and Shell plc.

The German government approved the project in March 2018, in order to move Germany away from nuclear power and coal (i.e., for environmentalist reasons, always hot-topics in Germany, especially since the not-particularly-democratic times). The costs of the gas pipeline are estimated at 9.9 billion euros: 4.75 billion were put in by Gazprom and the rest by its partners.

Nord Stream 2 would have completed third and fourth lines (compared to the first and second lines of Nord Stream 1). Through the Baltic, Nord Stream 1 and 2 basically follow the same route. Both pipelines take their gas from fields on the Yamal peninsula and from the Ob and Taz bays. With the two pipelines (with four lines in total), Germany would supply Russian gas to other countries, which would undoubtedly improve the situation in the European market, overcoming the energy crisis. The Germans went so far as to argue that Nord Stream 2 would be more cost-effective than overland deliveries through Eastern Europe. Russia has supplied 35.4% of the gas reaching Germany (and with Nord Stream 2 it would have doubled the amount) and 34% of the oil.

The main opponents of Nord Stream 2 have been the Baltic countries, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary(?), Romania, Croatia, Moldova—and mainly Poland and Ukraine; all of them supported by the European Commission and the US. These countries opposed Nord Stream 2 because a direct gas pipeline to Germany could mean the stoppage of energy supplies to them, as well as depriving them of lucrative transit tariffs.

Chronology of U.S. Policy against Nord Stream 2

U.S. complaints against the pipeline are not exclusive to the Biden Administration (which was pressured by its own fellow Democrats to take a hard line against Russia, hence calling Putin a “murderer;” as if the Obama Administration of which Biden was Vice President had not committed countless war crimes, far more than Russia may have committed—but the first African-American president is a demon who “does not smell of sulfur”). Already with Obama, the protests began when the project was not yet fully been put together (the idea of the project began to take shape in October 2012).

With the Trump Administration the complaints dragged on, and never stopped, even though at first Trump claimed that he would not enforce the Act against America’s enemies through sanctions on Russian energy exports. But before long he would change his mind. Trump even threatened to impose tariffs on EU countries, and proposed reopening talks to forge a U.S.-EU trade deal, if the draft were canceled.

On January 27, 2018, coinciding with the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (who was a former CEO of Exxon Mobil, i.e., this was a Rockefeller man infiltrating the Trump Administration, who would eventually be ousted by the more loyal Mike Pompeo) argued that the U.S. and Poland opposed Nord Stream 2, because it was considered a danger to Europe’s energy security and stability, ” and it provides Russia yet another tool to politicize energy as a political tool.”

U.S. senators from both parties were concerned in March 2018, when the German government approved the project, and wrote that ” “by circumventing Ukraine, Nord Stream II will remove one of the biggest reasons for Russia to avoid large-scale conflict in Eastern Ukraine—as the Kremlin is well aware.”

Ukraine’s transit used to supply 44% of Russian gas for the EU, pocketing the (increasingly corrupt) state coffers some $3 billion a month. But with Nord Stream 2, this was to change and the transit through the Ukrainian subsoil was to be reduced by a further 10 times. This would have caused Ukraine to lose 3% of its GDP. In Ukraine this was seen as undermining its sovereignty and also the collective energy security of the whole of Europe, as transit of gas through Ukraine deters Russian aggression, and this would end with the opening of Nord Stream 2, which in turn would have made Germany the main gas hub in Europe.

The U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, sent a letter in January 2019 to the companies in charge of building the pipeline, urging them to abandon the project and threatening them with sanctions if they continued with the project. In December of that year, Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Ron Johson also pressured the project companies.

European Council President Donald Tusk, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and then British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson also protested against the construction of Nord Stream 2. Tusk made it clear that the pipeline was not in the interests of the European Union. European Commission officials stated that “Nord Stream 2 does not enhance our [EU] energy security.”

Nord Stream 2 is something that divided the EU. Although when the Oval Office of the White House was occupied by Donald Trump the project did not seem so bad, and both France, Austria and Germany, plus the European Commission, criticized the United States (i.e., the Trump Administration) for new sanctions against Russia because of the pipeline, as they complained that the United States was threatening Europe’s energy supply.

So complained Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern and German Foreign Minister Sigman Gabriel in a joint statement: “Europe’s energy supply is a matter for Europe, and not for the United States of America.” And they added: “To threaten companies from Germany, Austria and other European states with penalties on the U.S. market if they participate in natural gas projects such as Nord Stream 2 with Russia or finance them introduces a completely new and very negative quality into European-American relations.” But—as we are about to see—German politicians, with the Social Democratic government, have not been so bold with the Biden Administration.

Isabelle Kocher, the CEO of the ENGIE Group (a local French-owned group that distributes electricity, natural gas, oil and renewable energies), criticized the US sanctions and claimed that they were trying to promote American gas in Europe (which is the key to this whole affair). Olaf Scholz, when he was Finance Minister in the Merkel-led coalition government, called the sanctions “a severe intervention in German and European internal affairs.” An EU spokesman criticized “the imposition of sanctions against EU companies conducting legitimate business.”

German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass said on Twitter that “European energy policy is decided in Europe, not in the United States.” Lavrov would argue that the U.S. Congress “is literally overwhelmed by the desire to do everything possible to destroy” relations with Russia. However, it should be noted that Germany strongly backed sanctions against Russia over the 2014 annexation of Crimea.

The German Eastern Business Association said in a statement that “America wants to sell its liquefied gas in Europe, for which Germany is building terminals. Should we arrive at the conclusion that US sanctions are intended to push competitors out of the European market, our enthusiasm for bilateral projects with the US will significantly cool.”

On December 21, 2019, Trump signed a bill imposing sanctions on companies that contributed to the construction of the pipeline, which was halted after Trump’s signature, although it would resume again in December 2020, following the election of Joe Biden as president. But immediately, on January 1, 2021, an annual defense policy bill passed by the U.S. Congress included sanctions for those companies working on the pipeline or securing it. On January 26, the White House announced that the new president also believes that “Nord Stream 2 is a bad deal for Europe,” and therefore his Administration will “review” the new sanctions.

Therefore, bipartisanship on Capitol Hill has been against the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, not because it is “a bad deal for Europe” but because it is a bad deal for the United States. On this “globalists” and “patriots” agree.

On July 30, 2020, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the Senate criticizing the construction of Nord Stream 2: ” We will do everything we can to make sure that that pipeline doesn’t threaten Europe. We want Europe to have real, secure, stable, safe energy resources that cannot be turned off in the event Russia wants to.” It’s as if he said, “We will do everything we can to make sure that pipeline doesn’t threaten the United States. We want Europe to have energy resources that it buys from the United States.” He added that the State Department and the Treasury Department “have made very clear in our conversations with those who have equipment there the expressed threat that is posed to them for continuing to work on completion of the pipeline.”

On April 20, 2021, one read on the website of the European Council on Foreign Relations (Soros think-tank): “It would be bad for Europe if American pressure forced the cancellation of the pipeline and left Germany and other member states whose companies participate in its construction bitter and beaten. It would also be bad for Europe if the pipeline ended up bulldozing Poland’s misgivings and portraying Germany as a selfish actor that did not care about its partners. Either of these outcomes would also weaken the transatlantic alliance and, more or less directly, benefit Moscow… if Washington halts the project, Moscow will find another reason to dismiss Europe as a policy actor that lacks credibility. Of course, this should not mean that Europe needs to save Nord Stream 2 just to impress Russia. The EU’s reasoning should have deeper roots than that.” It was thus “a relationship management problem.”

However, on May 19, 2021, the U.S. government waived sanctions against Nord Stream AG, but imposed sanctions against four Russian banks and five Russian companies. Sergei Ryabkov, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, rejoiced and viewed the move as “a chance for a gradual transition toward the normalisation of our bilateral ties.”

Republican Senator Jim Risch stated that such a move was ” a gift to Putin that will only weaken the United States.”

Yurity Vitrenko of Naftogaz (Ukraine’s state-owned oil and gas company) opposed the move and claimed that Ukraine was pressuring the U.S. to reimpose sanctions to stop the pipeline from opening. Biden claimed that he stopped the sanctions because the pipeline was nearly completed and because the sanctions had damaged U.S.-EU relations.

Ukraine’s president, then an unknown in the West, Volodymyr Zelensky, said he was “surprised and disappointed” by the decision of the Biden Administration, which also declined to sanction Nord Stream AG CEO Mathias Warning, a Putin ally.

However, in June 2021, the pipe-laying of the two gas pipeline lines was fully completed. On July 20, 2021, Biden and an already outgoing Angela Merkel agreed that the United States could sanction Russia if it used Nord Stream 2 as a “political weapon,” with the aim of preventing Poland and Ukraine from running out of Russian gas.

Merkel is an avowed Atlanticist and was not exactly enthusiastic about the Nord Stream 2 project, but she saw no way to back out. For her, it was a very delicate situation.

Ukraine would get a loan of $50 million to invest in green technology until 2024, and Germany would set up a $1 billion fund for Ukraine to switch to green energy and thus compensate for the loss of tariffs because not all the Russian gas that was to pass through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would be transported through its subsoil.

Now fully decided, after the strange hesitation, in November 2021, the U.S. State Department imposed further financial sanctions on Russian companies linked to Nord Stream 2.

On December 9, 2021, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Marawiecki pressured the new German Chancellor, Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, not to inaugurate Nord Stream 2 and not to give in to Russian pressure, and therefore “not to allow Nord Stream 2 to be used as an instrument for blackmail against Ukraine, an instrument for blackmail against Poland, an instrument for blackmail against the European Union.”

Upon detecting Russian troops on Ukraine’s eastern border, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced new sanctions on December 23rd.

Olaf Scholz was pressured to stop the opening of the pipeline at the EU summit. On February 7, 2022, he met with Biden at the White House, and at the press conference he stated that the U.S. and Germany were “we are acting together. We are absolutely united and we will not be taking different steps. We will do the same steps and they will be very, very hard to Russia and they should understand. As the President [Biden] said, we are preparing for that. You can understand and you can be absolutely sure that Germany will be together with all its allies and especially the United States, that we take the same steps. There will be no differences in that situation… I say to our American friends, we will be united. We will act together and we will take all the necessary steps and all the necessary steps will be done by all of us together.”

We see that he was no longer complaining about US intervention “in German and European internal affairs,” as we had seen him say when he was Finance Minister in the coalition government with Merkel, while Trump was in the White House.

For his part, Joe Biden warned that if Russia invades Ukraine, with “tanks or troops,” as would end up happening, “then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”

In the face of Biden’s threats to Russia, Scholz kept a timid silence, saying absolutely nothing about blatant U.S. interference in Germany’s economic relations with Russia. He bowed to Washington’s dictates.

On February 15, Scholz met with Putin in Moscow, where the Russian president affirmed that the pipeline would consolidate European energy security and that it was a “purely commercial” matter. As if economics were not economics-politics and as if it were not a geopolitical issue of the utmost importance and, as we have seen, of vital importance.

Scholz stated that the negotiations had been intense yet confident and pleaded with Russia to avoid being involved in the conflict with Ukraine.

At the press conference, Putin went so far as to say, “Germany is one of Russia’s key partners. We have always striven for interaction between our states. Germany ranks second after China among Russia’s foreign trade partners. Despite the difficult situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic and volatility in global markets, by the end of 2021, mutual trade grew by 36% and reached almost 57 billion. In the 1970s of the last century, our countries successfully implemented a historic project. It was called “Gas in exchange for pipelines.” And since then, German and other European consumers have been reliably and uninterruptedly supplied with Russian gas. Today, Russia meets more than one-third of Germany’s energy transportation needs.”

The “Gas for Pipelines” project was possible despite the Cold War, and the United States tried to prevent the construction of the Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhgorod gas pipeline and also tried to prevent German entrepreneurs from participating in the project, although it was eventually built 1982-1984 and officially inaugurated in France, complementing the Western Siberia-Western Europe transcontinental gas transport system that had existed since 1973. This pipeline transits Ukraine, pumping gas to Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. At that time the USSR did not have the capacity to produce the required pipelines. After construction, large deliveries of gas from Russia began, from the gigantic Vengoyskoye field to Germany and other European countries. The consequences of so much gas were the replacement of US coal in the European market and the FRG enjoyed a great economic boost. These gas agreements between Russia and Europe (then the USSR) did not benefit the United States, of which the US took careful note.

Scholz later met with Zelensky, where he was accused of using “Merkel’s playbook” by avoiding questions about the pipeline at the press conference he gave together with the Ukrainian president.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated that the future of the pipeline depended on Russia’s behavior in Ukraine. On February 19, she stated at the Munich Security Conference that Europe could not be so dependent on Russia for its energy needs (perhaps she wants it to be dependent on the United States, and not only for energy but geopolitically, which is the logical consequence). “A strong European Union cannot be so reliant on an energy supplier that is threatens to start a war on our continent… We can impose high costs and severe consequences on Moscow’s economic interests. The Kremlin’s strange thinking that comes straight out of a dark past may cost Russia a prosperous future… We will hope still that peace will prevail and that diplomacy will take us there.”

On February 22, the day after Russia recognized the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Olaf Scholz, who was always in favor of the project but had just come from seeing Biden (although he did immediately afterwards visit Putin), suspended the certification of Nord Stream 2. “Today I asked the Federal Ministry of Economics to revoke the energy security report of the Federal Network Agency… This is a necessary step so that the certification of the pipeline cannot take place now. Without this certification, Nord Stream 2 cannot be launched.” German Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock told reporters that the German government had “frozen” the project.

On February 23, Biden ordered sanctions to be imposed on the pipeline operator, Nord Stream 2 AG, and also on company officials. “These steps are another part of our initial tranche of sanctions in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. As I have made clear, we will not hesitate to take further action if Russia continues to escalate.” Such sanctions were imposed after “close consultations” between the U.S. and German governments. And he thanked Scholz for his “close cooperation and unwavering commitment to holding Russia accountable for its actions;” in other words, he thanked him for his subservience to the United States. By recognizing the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Putin, Biden said, “gave the world an irresistible incentive to abandon Russian gas and switch to other forms of energy.”

The day after, Russia began the “special military operation” in Ukraine. Thus, the United States now had the war it needed to make sure that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline would not be opened and German-Russian relations would break down; although Nord Stream 1 would continue to carry gas to Germany, functioning like the other gas pipelines supplying Europe, with which Russia is pocketing some 800 million euros a day, plus 260 million euros for exporting oil.

On March 8, the United States banned all imports of oil and gas from Russia, breaking historical records in the price of gasoline (7% of the oil consumed by the United States is Russian).

On March 9 the Russian President’s press secretary, Dimitry Preskov, responded to the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland—the woman who said “f**k the EU,” by stating that Nord Stream 2 is “dead and will not be revived” (a day earlier in the US Congress she had said that the pipeline is just “a pile of metal at the bottom of the sea”)—and Preskov told her that the pipeline is ready for use, adding that the United States is declaring economic war on Russia.

A Geo-Economic and therefore Geopolitical Dispute

Rather than an infrastructure project in the federative power (or international trade) of the core layers of the States concerned, Nord Stream 2 seems rather a symbol of discord in diplomatic power and even in military power, something we are seeing in Ukraine. Undoubtedly, Nord Stream 2 and all gas and oil pipelines entail geopolitical problems, because the basal resources are embedded in the core problems of the dialectics of states (economy is always economy-politics; that is, both cannot be understood as megaregional spheres but as conjugated concepts—conceptually dissociable, existentially inseparable).

Undoubtedly, as it is rightly accused, Russia uses its energy power as a geopolitical and geostrategic weapon, as does the United States. In fact, such Russian power is enormous. Adding oil, gas and coal exports, Russia is the world’s largest exporter of these products.

If Nord Stream 2 had been implemented, the United States would have lost influence over the EU and also over Ukraine. This would have made European countries, primarily Germany, even more dependent on Russian energy resources. Some of these countries, and of course the ringleader of the gang, the United States, took a stand against the construction of this pipeline. Ukraine was seen as one of the economies most affected if Nord Stream 2 were to be put into operation, since a large quantity of raw materials from Russia would no longer pass through its subsoil (although this would also affect Russia’s rather vassal ally, Belarus).

The Russians argued that with Nord Stream 2 the price of gas would go down, as some 55 billion cubic meters of gas would be transported per year (more or less the same amount that Nord Stream 1 sends). It should be borne in mind that just over a third of the gas arriving in Europe comes from Russia.

In Spain only 10% of the gas received is Russian. Algeria (Russia’s historical ally) is the main gas exporter to Spain (30% of its gas ends up in Spain), and the government of Pedro Sánchez is not exactly being diplomatically tactful with this country; moreover, it is treating it with extreme imprudence, ceding the Sahara to Morocco (abandoning the poor Saharawis for the second time). Perhaps this is the reward the sultanate has received for recognizing Israel. But then is not in Spain, for several decades now, foreign policy is not foreign policy but continuous betrayal?

Note what the 2019 report from the leading U.S. think tank RAND Corporation said: “Increasing Europe’s ability to import gas from suppliers other than Russia could economically extend Russia and buffer Europe against Russian energy coercion. Europe is slowly moving in this direction by building regasification plants for liquefied natural gas (LNG). But to be truly effective, this option would need global LNG markets to become more flexible than they already are and would need LNG to become more price-competitive with Russian gas.”

Germany saw its energy security endangered if Nord Stream 2 did not come on stream. And it should be borne in mind that this was a project that was built on the initiative of Berlin and not Moscow. And yet, Germany has sided with Ukraine (thus bowing to the dictates of the Washington Empire).

But it should also be borne in mind that with Nord Stream 2 the relationship between Russia and Germany was not exclusively one of dependence of the latter on the former, since Russia would also depend on Germany, that is to say, a relationship of cooperation would be established, which is what the United States does not want. And Germany in turn would distribute the gas coming from Russia to the other countries.

The problem is that if this gas pipeline begins to pump gas, then the United States could lose the vassalage of Germany and other European countries. The United States has always tried to prevent trade relations between Germany and Russia from prospering (it did so when it came to the FRG and the USSR, as we have seen).

Hence Biden’s complaints (like Trump’s, and also Obama’s), since the US wants to prevent at all costs the opening of Nord Stream 2. Wouldn’t Russia be helping to consolidate German leadership in the EU with this pipeline? Although historically, despite Napoleon, Russia has maintained better relations with France. And certainly, the Russians do not forget the two world wars, especially the Great Patriotic War.

Germany argued that Nord Stream 1 did not prevent the Reich from taking a hard line against Russian expansionism. And, crucially, that the United States opposed the project because it wanted to sell more liquefied natural gas to European markets (that sums up the plot).

Almost a quarter of the energy consumed by the EU is natural gas, and a third of this comes from Russia, with the eastern countries obviously being more dependent on this gas. The EU receives 40% of its gas from Russia, as well as 27% of its oil. The United States does not get any Russian gas, although it does get—as we have already said—7% of its oil (which it now intends to replace with Venezuelan oil). On March 25, 2022, the EU finalized an agreement in which the United States will supply 15,000 million cubic meters of liquefied gas to the EU market this year. And between now and 2030. Mission accomplished: Europe bows its head before its servant.

And how can the United States afford to put the brakes on a project between two sovereign nations behind a pharaonic construction site thousands of kilometers apart? Could it be that Germany, which together with France leads the EU, is nothing more than a vassal of the United States, even if it now intends to rearm? And if the Franco-German axis is a vassal of the United States, won’t Spain, forsaken Spain, be a vassal of the vassals? Be that as it may, the United States has behaved towards Germany like an extortionist gangster—who forces shopkeepers at gunpoint to buy his merchandise. Then, armed with a titanium diboride face, they call it a “free market.”

According to a European Commission report, entitled “EU-US LNG Trade,” in 2021 the record supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States to the EU was overtaken, exceeding 22 billion cubic meters. In January 2022 it had reached 4.4 billion cubic meters (if it continues at this rate, it would reach more than 50 billion). But this is not enough for the United States. Nevertheless, the European Commission is in favor of the Yankees being the main suppliers of natural gas to the EU market.

In view of all this, it could be said that the United States has fomented a war in Ukraine for the purpose of restricting the EU’s economic cooperation with Russia, which goes against the interests of the Union, which has behaved in this crisis as a group of vassal states of Washington; something that has been the case for a long time, practically after the Second World War—except that it has now manifested itself in an embarrassing way.

In an interview given by Jacques Baud, a Swiss army colonel, military intelligence expert and deputy to NATO and the UN, he said: “I am sure that Putin did not want to attack Ukraine, he said this repeatedly. Obviously, there was pressure from the US to start the war. The US has little interest in Ukraine itself. What they wanted was to increase pressure on Germany to shut down Nord Stream 2. They wanted Ukraine to provoke Russia, and if Russia reacted, Nord Stream 2 would be frozen.”

Also, the UK looks set to benefit as a “transit” country for natural gas supplies to Europe, via the pipeline through Belgium and the Netherlands, which will try to get rid of dependence on Russian gas as planned for this summer by the only British energy operator gathering North Sea gas in Norway: National Grid. As The Daily Telegraph reported, National Grid believes it can export some 5.1 bcm to Europe this summer. It is also considering importing liquefied gas from the U.S. to the U.K. for conversion into normal gas for export to Europe.

Because of the Russian military operation in the armada-by-NATO-countries-(not all)-Ukraine, the non-opening of Nord Stream 2 has not divided European countries, as happened in 2003 with the Iraq war, even though the UK has left the EU. There seems to be an anti-Russian consensus (perhaps anti-Sorosian Hungary is the exception, although it is ambiguously).

To win Russia’s alliance against China, neither the Trump Administration (which was what it intended) nor the Biden Administration (which has shown the world its exacerbated Russophobia, along the lines of the Polish-U.S.-trilateralist-Rockefellerian Zbigniew Brzezinski) have been able to act with diplomatic tact. And they should know that alliances are as important as the forces themselves. That is why Russia has won over the Chinese ally, although always with the fear that the latter might absorb it or at any given moment betray it (hypocrisy is our daily bread in international relations).

Zelensky’s Humiliation of the German President

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier maintained for years a cordial relationship with Vladimir Putin, whom he praised, as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Gerhard Schröder and later as Foreign Minister under Angela Merkel. And he also showed his strongest support for the Nord Stream 2 project during those years, until just before the war, something that, after the entry of Russian troops into Ukraine, the head of the German state has admitted was a “clear mistake.” A mistake he maintained for years, almost a decade? After the flurry on Twitter where pictures were posted of Steinmeier hugging Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the president expressed his remorse. For this he was no longer welcome in Kiev, and had to cancel his visit: “It seems that my presence is not wanted.” Later he added, “We have not managed to create a common European home in which Russia is included. We have not managed to include Russia in the overall security architecture. We clung to bridges that Russia no longer believed in, as our partners warned us.” All this shows Germany’s shameful subservience to the United States.

The Ukrainian ambassador to Berlin, Andriy Melnyk, went on to point out that Germany maintains “too many vested interests” in Russia and that Steinmeier is largely to blame, as he spent decades weaving a spider’s web of contacts with Russia (as would Merkel, with whom Putin spoke in Russian and German). “Many of those now in charge in the (German) coalition are involved in this.”

The deputy spokesman of the German government, Wolfgang Büchner, has cooled tempers by understanding “the exceptional situation” Ukraine is going through. And he has indicated that “Germany has been and is one of the strongest defenders of Ukraine… and will continue to be so. The President has a clear and unequivocal position in favor of Ukraine.”

Steinmeier recalled in the German magazine Spiegel that in 2001 Putin gave a speech in German in the Bundestag itself: “The Putin of 2001 has nothing to do with the Putin of 2022 whom we now see as a brutal and entrenched war promoter.” And that he still expected “a remnant of rationality from Vladimir Putin.”

Daniel Miguel López Rodríguez lives in Cortegana (Huelva), Spain. He has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Seville. This article appears through the kind courtesy of Posmodernia.

Featured image: Map of Nord Stream 1 and 2.

Is Putin Crazy?

Much is being said in the Western press about the alleged insanity of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, and some have even said outright that the Russian leader is “a psychopath.” To reduce the very complex reality of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict (which is much more than a clash between Russia and Ukraine) to the psychological anxieties of a single individual (namely, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin) is to stupidly block out understanding and not to attend to the dialectical and pluralistic (not Manichean dualistic or harmonistic) webs of the present geopolitics at work. Such diagnoses only show that the person who affirms them is a prisoner of the crudest and silliest psychologism.

One of those who say that Putin is mad is the fervent Russianophobic Judeo-Magyarist-American globalist Esperantist George Soros: “Putin seems to have literally gone mad. He has decided to punish Ukraine for standing up to him and seems to be acting without restraint. He is throwing the entire Russian army into battle and ignoring all the rules of war.”

Says the tycoon who with his foundations is spreading truly delusional ideologies. Since we avoid psychologism at all costs, we prefer to speak of objective madness (see, Gustavo Bueno).

The oligarch who was once the richest man in Russia, an opponent of Putin who spent ten years in jail for tax evasion, although he denied it, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, affirmed from his London exile that this war is the result of an “emotional decision by Putin,” and that the leader shows “signs of senile paranoia” because he is a “madman in the clinical sense.”

But let’s look at the position of the experts, and not of the talk show hosts on duty who start talking like real specialists on any subject without having any idea of what they are talking about (get rid of the vain talk show hosts, we should add, paraphrasing Paul of Tarsus).

The president of the Spanish Society of Criminology and Forensic Sciences (SCEE), Carlos López Gobernado, states categorically: “Without any doubt, Putin is not a psychopath. He has a very clear mind… He is not. He knows perfectly well what he wants and he wants it for his country. Rather than psychopathic traits, I see geopolitical motives. Russia wants its space at the international level. There are supranational interests at stake here. More than personality conflicts, I find questions of statesmanship and geopolitical power politics.” To paraphrase the vile Clinton, “it’s geopolitics, stupid.”

Henry Kissinger, a professional politician who has spent more than fifty years keeping an eye on geopolitical entanglements, has gone so far as to say, “For the West, the demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy; it is an alibi for the absence of one.”

Putin could not have remained in power for 20 years if he simply and despotically offered tyranny and repression to his fellow citizens. To think of such “tyranny” is to offend the intelligence of Russians, given that Putin is one of the most popular politicians in the world (probably the most popular).

As acknowledged in Foreign Affairs, in a May/June 2021 article by Professor of Post-Soviet Foreign Policy at Columbia University Timothy Frye: Over the past 20 years, Putin’s approval ratings have averaged a remarkable 74 percent, and there is little reason to believe that Russians are lying to pollsters in large numbers. But these high approval ratings were largely driven by the economic boom that doubled the size of Russia’s economy between 1998 and 2008 and the unique foreign policy success of the 2014 annexation of Crimea. Since 2018, Putin’s popularity has wavered. His approval ratings remain in the mid-60s, but Russians express much less confidence in him than in the past. In a November 2017 poll, when asked to name five politicians they trust, 59 percent of respondents named Putin; in February 2021, only 32 percent did so. During the same interval, support for a fifth Putin term fell from 70 percent to 48 percent, with 41 percent of Russians surveyed now saying they would prefer he step down.

With a month of war in Ukraine, we read in the foreign press (it seems that in the mainstream Spanish press, with some exceptions, we won’t read that) that Putin’s popularity has risen to 83%.

Be that as it may, it is an insult to the intelligence of the Russian people that they have trusted for so long a stupid, crazy man, or a psychopath who is willing to press, simply out of sheer evil, the nuclear button. Or that among his favorite hobbies is genocide. Lately this word the mainstream media writes and pronounces in Spain with much joy, and anything or any war crime is mistaken for genocide. But such a fine distinction is not something that is habitually made by the ignorant masses.

One must keep in mind that Putin inherited a devastated, shattered Russia, with the vast majority of its population demoralized by living in misery after a decade of the collapse and ruin of the Soviet Union (with the war in Chechnya fueling the misery). Putin’s governments have been gradually reversing the situation. It is as if his enemies never forgave him.

It is very simple-minded and typical of Western journalists, who are functionally illiterate in the noble art of geopolitics, along with the pretensions of pantologists and experts in universality, to believe that an overly prudent politician like Vladimir Putin (as he has shown during his twenty years in office, from 2008 to 2012 as Prime Minister) would ever make such a mistake of not foreseeing the consequences of the Western sanctions (i.e., those of NATO plus Japan and Australia) and that he has simply “lost his mind” (such is the “rigor” with which the matter has been dismissed in mainstream media).

But the truth is that neither China, nor Mexico, nor Brazil, nor India, nor Iran, nor South Africa and other countries (actually most of the world’s states) have imposed sanctions on Russia, which together with China has been preparing since 2015 for the de-dollarization of their economies, while putting in place parallel systems to SWIFT, such as the Chinese Cross-Border Interbank Payment System (CIPS, for its acronym in English). “The CIPS system, which some Russian banks already joined in 2019, as confirmed by Vladimir Shapovalov, head of the Bank of Russia, could become strong enough to allow the two neighboring powers to bypass the Western system.”

The US and EU plan is to isolate Russia with sanctions so that the oligarchs, seeing how their businesses are being destroyed, will rebel against Putin. But won’t Putin have everything neatly wrapped up and firmly wrapped up?

And while the war is raging in Ukraine, the EU pays Russia about a billion euros a day for its energy (although it has demanded to be paid in rubles, which Russia now wants to back in gold, which could change the rules of the geo-economic game). The gas pipelines have been operating normally. Russia is punished with sanctions but at the same time the war is financed by buying Russia’s gas. What will not be bought in peacetime? Russia is an energy giant that Europe can hardly do without. Russia is not to be scorned, even if this is shocking to democratic and liberal fundamentalism. At the Antalya Diplomatic Forum held on March 11, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, admitted that sanctions against Russia “have a very high cost for the whole world.”

In the face of Western sanctions Russia could count on BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), an international body that was launched in 2008-2009 and which—as the US Council on Foreign Relations knows—” BRICS has already become a platform for efforts to build an alternative financial system, with the group’s development bank raising funds in local currencies as part of its goal to ‘break away from the tyranny of hard currencies.'”

As far back as 2019 the RAND Corporation report said, “Imposing deeper trade and financial sanctions would also likely degrade the Russian economy, especially if such sanctions are comprehensive and multilateral. Thus, their effectiveness will depend on the willingness of other countries to join in such a process. But sanctions come with costs and, depending on their severity, considerable risks.”

Putin did not get along entirely badly with Donald Trump. In the four years of the Orange Man sitting in the Oval Office, the US-Russia relations were very different from how they were with Obama or how they are now with Biden (who called Putin a “murderer”—as if the United States, and as if the Obama Administration of which he was Vice President, did not have a bloodthirsty career). Trump’s return to the White House could appease relations with Russia but strain them with China. And after the Ukrainian war, Trump would have a hard time winning the favor of a Russia already very much devoted to China.

As written in Foreign Affairs in November/December 2021, in an article by Fiona Hill, Robert Bosch Senior Fellow at the Center on the United States and Europe in the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, Putin shared many of the same enemies as Trump: “cosmopolitan, liberal elites; the American financier, philanthropist, and open society promoter George Soros; and anyone trying to expand voting rights, improve electoral systems, or cast a harsh light on corruption in their countries’ respective executive branches…. Trump railed against a mythological American deep state, whereas Putin—who spent decades as an intelligence operative before ascending to office—is a product of Russia’s very real deep state. Unlike Trump, who saw the U.S. state apparatus as his enemy and wanted to rule the country as an outsider, Putin rules Russia as a state insider. Also unlike Trump, Putin rarely dives into Russia’s social, class, racial, or religious divisions to gain political traction. Instead, although he targets individuals and social groups that enjoy little popular support, Putin tends to promote a single, synthetic Russian culture and identity to overcome the domestic conflicts of the past that destabilized and helped bring down both the Russian empire and the Soviet Union. That Putin seeks one Russia while Trump wanted many Americas during his time in office is more than just a difference in political styles: it is a critical data point. It highlights the fact that a successful U.S. policy approach to Russia will rest in part on denying Putin and Russian operatives the possibility to exploit divisions in American society.”

The Spanish bourgeois press, especially that of the “global daily” (globalist), maintains that Putin fears that next to the Russian border the “evolution of a free and thriving society” is being forged and “not any of the weapons that the Central European countries may have on their territory. None of them is a military danger to Russia. They are all, and Ukraine in particular, a danger as an example that freedom can be successful and not necessarily be a source of violence and chaos as happened in Yeltsin’s Russia and which is the scarecrow that Putin uses to defend his despotism. If the Ukrainian brethren can have a democratic and free country that works, there is a danger that the Russian brethren will conclude that they can, too. That is what Putin fears. That is why he says he is going to destroy the anti-Russia that the West has put in front of his door. What he has in front of his door is not against Russia, but it is a society that is against tyranny, and he feels, with much logic, very affected.”

In order to hold up the corrupt Ukrainian oligarchy as an example of a “free and thriving society” that “goes against tyranny,” it is necessary to have a face not made of reinforced concrete, but of titanium diboride. But this is how they tend to spin it in the once “Independent Morning Newspaper” but now “The Global Newspaper” (globalist, very globalist). This is the same media that published Zelensky’s corruption when he was in the Pandora Papers: “In March 2019, a month before winning the elections, Zelenski transferred his shares to Sergiy Shefir, a close friend and business partner who later became one of his main political advisors in Kiev. Neither the minister nor his advisers have responded to requests for comment.”

In the other bourgeois press, the liberal jim-dandy, the one that sees communists as the child in The Sixth Sense saw the dead. We are referring to the pie-in-the-sky Libertad Digital; and they just cannot stop writing nonsense wholesale: “Putin is the leader of a gigantic terrorist gang, president of a world terrorist power, called Russia. A mediocre nostalgic with nuclear arsenal and lack of scruples. We have been informed by many Russians who worked for him, who brought him to power and who risked their lives or freedom denouncing him. For nothing?”

A journalist, who is the epitome of being mediocre, calls the greatest statesman of our time “mediocre.” Ignorance has always been very bold.

But the one who takes the cake is the owner of a dog-and-pony show, one Federico Jiménez Losantos, whose comments are laughable. He calls Putin “communist” every other morning (like a mantra). And he pronounces this word with the same insulting tone as progressives pronounce the word “fascist.”

But Putin’s Russia is the country where more churches are being built and where the Christian religion (Orthodox, of course) is making a comeback; where gender ideology and liberal cosmopolitanism are most firmly attacked (Soros cannot enter there—n our country he has even got into the kitchen); where a private sector is becoming more and more influential in its economy; where brands like Zara have hundreds of stores throughout its vast territory; and where the Russian Communist Party is the main force of opposition to United Russia (Putin’s party).

To say that Putin is a communist and that he wants to restore the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is simply supreme ignorance or crude demonizing propaganda, the same as the former COPE announcer does with the USSR and communism in general in his book which is as fat as it is nonsensical, Memoria del comunismo (Memory of Communism). But that, among other things, is what I am here to criticize.

Agapito Maestre, professor of philosophy at the Complutense University of Madrid, is not far behind either, having authored such unreasonable and stupid statements as: “Putin only intends to return to the old and cruel Stalinism. The totalitarian process of Putin’s era is also irreversible: the whole of Russia is already a Gulag. It will continue to stagnate economically, politically and socially.”

It is embarrassing that a philosopher, who even admired Gustavo Bueno during his lifetime and also after his eternal birth, should write such nonsense. You should amend your judgment, Don Agapito, because such statements are typical of the corruption of understanding or of a third-rate sophist.

Daniel Miguel López Rodríguez lives in Cortegana (Huelva), Spain. He has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Seville. This article appears through the kind courtesy of Posmodernia.

Featured image: “Vladimir Putin,” by Kalin Modev; painted in 2015.