Accepter cookie ?
28/01/2022 strategic-culture.org  7 min 🇬🇧 #201271

Snubbing Russia's Red Lines, the Us. Shows Strategic Hand

The U.S. policy of confrontation and tensions is all about finding a suitable cover for the American sabotaging of Europe's energy trade with Russia.

The intransigent response this week by the United States to Russia's security concerns shows that Washington wants conflict. At the same time, also this week, the U.S. inadvertently revealed its hand when it reinforced its objective that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline would not go ahead "if Russia invades Ukraine".

This is no mere coincidence. The tensions and crisis that have been stoked in recent months over Ukraine - to the point where, incredibly, a world war is being feared - are driven by the American strategic objective of axing Russia's lucrative energy trade with Europe. That of course is never admitted publicly by Washington. For that would be an admission of criminality.

This week, U.S. President Joe Biden reiterated the corny cliche that the United States had a "sacred duty" to defend European allies from alleged Russian aggression. What Biden really meant to invoke was a sacred duty to pursue U.S. imperial interests, uppermost of which is to scupper the giant oil and gas commerce between Russia and Europe. Doing so would greatly profit America's energy industries as well as propping up the American dollar as an international reserve currency. But just as importantly for U.S. dominance is the thwarting of any kind of normal geopolitical relations between its NATO allies in Europe and the continent's largest country - Russia. Think of the loss in profits for U.S. militaristic capitalism.

The escalation in tensions over the past two months has been propelled by U.S. claims (vague and dubious) that Russia had mobilized military forces to invade Ukraine. Russia has consistently denied any intention to attack its western neighbor despite the U.S.-backed Kiev regime's constant provocations and civil war against the ethnic Russian population in Southeast Ukraine waged since 2014 and the CIA-backed coup d'état in Kiev. Some 14,000 people have been killed and millions displaced by that relentless conflict which the NATO-backed regime is allowed to perpetuate by Washington's and Europe's indifference to peace obligations under the 2015 Minsk Accord mediated by Russia.

Russia says that military forces within its borders are a sovereign matter requiring no accountability to any foreign state. It is notable how the U.S. claims have the tone and appearance of an orchestrated media campaign. The claims of "imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine" have come to dominate news headlines worldwide. Yet the moment of invasion always seems to elude actuality. One unintentionally amusing  headline this week in the U.S. government-owned Radio Free Europe laments: "Tired of waiting [for invasion]".

In any case, Russia took the opportunity on December 17 to present the United States and its NATO allies with its own security concerns. The years-long expansion of NATO members right up to the Russian borders - in contravention of historic promises given by U.S. leaders in the 1990s - was demanded by Moscow to halt and be rolled back to 1997 lines. Russia specifically requested the U.S. to foreswear the future NATO membership of Ukraine, Georgia and other former Soviet republics. This is based on existential security concern that such territories could become launching sites for American ballistic missiles capable of hitting Moscow within minutes.

This week, the United States and NATO responded in writing to Moscow's security proposals. As previously stated rhetorically, Washington and its allies responded by  dismissing Russia's security conditions. In short, there are to be no concessions and the high-handed manner seems to be a deliberate provocation.

Stretching credulity, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg both  said that the "path of diplomacy" remains open to Russia "if it should choose to take it". It is very difficult to view such statements as genuinely meaningful when the U.S. and NATO are publicly notifying Russia that they intend to sweep aside its existential security apprehensions and at the very same time are  flooding Ukraine with lethal weaponry.

In other words, the United States appears to have chosen to escalate the tensions further and force Russia into a military-technical response that Moscow had earlier warned it will take if Washington did not respect its proposals.

That does not mean that the U.S. wants to incite Russia into an all-out war - although that is a reckless risk. But it does mean that Washington wants the tensions and confrontational situation to continue.

The key to understanding this seemingly irrational tendency is the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. The same day that Blinken was saying "no concessions" to Moscow, his State Department announced in the most forceful language yet that the Nord Stream 2 gas trade between Russia and the European Union would not go ahead "if Russia invaded Ukraine". The term "invades Ukraine" is just code for ongoing tensions.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said Wednesday: "I want to be very clear: if Russia invades Ukraine one way or another, Nord Stream 2 will not move forward. I'm not going to get into the specifics. We will work with Germany to ensure it does not move forward."

As German news outlet Deutsche Welle  reported, the United States "did not elaborate on whether Germany had agreed to this."

Washington is here revealing it has determined that the €10 billion gas pipe project will not become operational whether Berlin formally agrees to that cancellation or not. The United States is taking ownership of German and European Union sovereignty to decide with whom the bloc can trade energy - and that evidently precludes not Russia.

The 1,222-kilometer Nord Stream 2 pipeline under the Baltic Sea connecting Siberian gas to Europe was completed last year despite U.S. sanctions trying to disrupt it. If it eventually becomes operational, the project will double the supply of natural gas to Germany and help keep consumer prices down at a time when household and business fuel bills are soaring to unaffordable levels.

The Biden administration has been as adamantly opposed to the expanded gas trade between Russia and Europe as the previous Trump White House. However, Biden and his aides have been a bit more coy in their policy of appearing not to overtly antagonize Germany with imperious demands to cancel Nord Stream 2.

Berlin has been reluctant to axe the project, seeing it as a vital resource to fuel its economy. Chancellor Olaf Scholz, like his predecessor Angela Merkel, has insisted on Nord Stream 2 being a commercial issue beyond geopolitics. German concerns are underscored by a study published this week  showing that an abrupt cut-off in Russian gas supply would massively damage Germany's and Europe's economy.

Scholz has come under intensified pressure from Washington to harden opposition to the Russian gas pipeline.

By way of increasing the pressure on Berlin, the Biden administration  announced this week that it was seeking alternative gas and oil suppliers for Europe so that the latter would not run short in the case of conflict. This is the Americans telling the Germans: you have no excuse now but to join our demands to cancel Nord Stream 2.

What became clear this week is that the U.S. policy of confrontation and tensions with Russia is all about finding a suitable cover for the American sabotaging of Germany's and Europe's energy trade with Russia. Without the pretext of confrontation with Russia that American sabotage amounts to criminal aggression.

 strategic-culture.org

 Commenter