Washington And Berlin On A Collision Course

Authored by Pepe Escobar via Counterpunch.org,

The Russia sanctions bill that passed the US Senate by 98:2 on June 15 is a bombshell; it directly demonizes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, under the Baltic Sea, which is bound to double Gazprom’s energy capacity to supply gas to Europe.

The 9.5 billion euro pipeline is being financed by five companies; Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall; Austria’s OMV; France’s Engie; and Anglo-Dutch Shell. All these majors operate in Russia, and have, or will establish, pipeline contracts with Gazprom.

In a joint statement, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern stressed that, “Europe’s energy supply is a matter for Europe, not the United States of America”; “instruments for political sanctions should not be tied to economic interests”; and the whole thing heralds a “new and very negative quality in European-American relations”.

An oil trader in the Gulf bluntly told me, “the new sanctions against Russia basically amount to telling the EU to buy expensive US gas instead of cheap Russian gas. So the Germans and the Austrians basically told the Americans to buzz off.”

A top US intel source, Middle East-based and a dissident to the Beltway consensus, stresses how, “the United States Senate by a nearly unanimous vote have decided to declare war on Russia (sanctions are war) and Germany has threatened retaliation against the United States if it initiates sanctions.

Germany accused the United States of trying to stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline of Russia to the EU so that the US can export their liquid natural gas to the EU, making the EU dependent on the United States.”
But then, there’s a possible game-changing aftermath; “That would spell the end of NATO if a trade war between the EU and the United States takes place.”

The usual Brexiteer suspects obviously are falling like a ton of bricks over the “Molotov-Ribbentrop 2 pipeline” – another trademark expression of paranoia by Poland.

They are even demonizing Germany for daring to do business with Russia, “undermining the security and economic interests of Eastern and Central Europe” and – yes, roars of laughter are in order — undermining “American emotional backing for NATO.”

So much pent-up “emotion” even leads to a nasty accusation of betrayal; “We know which side Poland is on. Which side is Germany on?”

What’s really unforgivable though is that Nord Stream 2, in practice, buries for good failed state Ukraine’s $2 billion in revenue from pipeline fees.

Nord Stream 2 is opposed by all the usual suspects; Poland; the Baltic states; Washington; but also the Nordic states. The top official argument is that it “harms EU energy security”. That in itself embeds a massive joke, as the EU has been harming itself in interminable “energy security” discussions in Brussels for over a decade.

Lucrative creative destruction, anyone?

Analyst Peter G. Spengler qualifies the US Senate bill as a “declared, but not yet executed act of warfare, an act of (sanctions) war against Germany and Austria directly, possible recipients within the EU indirectly.”

Spengler draws attention to the reminder of the FRG/USSR Agreement on Economic Cooperation of 1978 with a 25 years duration 1978 Agreement of Economic Cooperation between the then Federal Republic of Germany and the USSR, designed to last for 25 years; “This agreement together with all the foregoing treaties between West Germany and the Soviet Union were the basis on which [Helmut] Kohl could build his ‘Haus Europa’ with the Soviet Union/Russia from the summer of 1989 in Bonn onwards.”
Crucially, this agreement also included a gas transportation triangle between Moscow, Teheran and Bonn, and was “fiercely but completely clandestinely embattled by the Carter administration, among so many silent wars against the Federal Republic of Germany in those years.”

And guess who was trying to sabotage the agreement 24/7; recently deceased Polish “Grand Chessboarder” Zbigniew Brzezinski.

So nothing much changed since the late 1970s; Washington demonizing both Tehran and Moscow. The section of the US Senate bill related to Russia is some sort of after thought to yet another hardcore package against Iran, the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act (which includes the Russia sanctions.)

It’s not an accident that the US Senate sanctions bill targets energy; this is a sub-product of a fierce energy war. But what is the US Senate really up to? Call it creative (lucrative) destruction.
The US Senate is convinced that Nord Stream 2 “would compete with US exports of liquefied natural gas to Europe”. Thus the US government “should prioritize the export of United States energy resources in order to create American jobs, help United States allies and partners, and strengthen United States foreign policy”.

Yet this has absolutely nothing to do with helping “allies and partners”; it’s rather a case of US energy majors getting a little help from their friends/puppets in the Senate. It’s in the public domain how US energy majors donated over $50 million in 2015/2016 to get these people elected.

Watch those Hamburg fireworks

Compared to the US Senate, the role of the European Commission (EC) in the saga remained somewhat murky, until it became clear it will interfere via a “mandate”. This “mandate” will have to be approved by a “reinforced qualified majority” vote by member states, a higher than usual threshold of 72 percent of EU states representing 65 per cent of the population.

Spengler observes how, “the commission’s continued attempts to get a legal foot in the contracts between European companies and Gazprom would be much more detrimental and potentially efficient than even a President’s signing of the Senate (and House) sanctions law.”

So where will this all lead? Arguably towards an extremely messy clash “between the European Commission/Court of Justice and German/Austrian (plus Russian) jurisdiction.”

The Senate bill will have to be backed by a veto-proof majority in the House; that vote won’t happen before the G-20 in Hamburg. Then it would become law – assuming President Trump won’t squash it.

The key, “nuclear” issue is a non-mandatory clause for the US Treasury to sanction those five Western firms involved in Nord Stream 2. If the law is approved, the White House better ignore it. Otherwise Germany, Austria and France will definitely interpret it as a declaration of war.

Trump and Chancellor Angela Merkel will definitely be on a collision course at the G-20, with Merkel emphasizing discussions on climate change, refugees and no trade protectionism, much to Trump’s disgust. The Russia sanctions bill just adds to the unholy mess. Expect a lot of fireworks “celebrating” those bilaterals in Hamburg.



sinbad2 Jul 7, 2017 10:59 PM Permalink

Germany is starting to show some independence, I wonder if there is a colour revolution in their future.A Germany Russia China alliance would be a global force, there are real synergies, German research and development, Chinese manufacturing power, and Russian resources.The question is, does Germany want to be part of the fourth empire(reich), or remain a vassal state.

caesium Jul 7, 2017 5:16 PM Permalink

The take away here is that America will now bomb Germany. I think I've seen that movie. In fact, I've seen lots of movies on the same theme.

libertysghost Jul 7, 2017 2:54 PM Permalink

Americans and Russians (and Greeks to a degree holding them at bay..."again") having to beat the NAZIs again.   History does rhyme at times (to paraphrase a quote Twain might have said once).

Volaille de Bresse Jul 7, 2017 2:24 PM Permalink

My humble speculations :- Merkel has been held on a leash by the US Deep State cause the NSA have her (less than stellar) Stasi dossier.- When Obozo ws in office she behaved like a good doggy cause she knew Obozo was  "Deep State"-friendly and he was blackmailing her- As soon as Trump was elected Merkel felt free as she (correctly) thought Trump was anti-DC anti-Deep State. Now she feels so free and cocky she's about to step on Trump's toes. Achtung Angie! The Donald is gonna grab you by the pussy! (urgh!)

PetrusRomanus Jul 9, 2017 1:36 PM Permalink

So the objective of NATO since it's inception remain true to this day.  The words of Lord Ismay, the first secretary general of NATO in 1952,   ! "keep the Russians out of Europe, Americans in and prevent the rise of Germany"------> his statement now,  is truer than ever, premised by the energy hypothesis. Under the current admin, it reads " We must be the major Energy exporters to Europe, push Qatar, Iran, Russia and Turkey to form an alliance and supply the Asian market, and well, the middle east -ex Israel is irrelevant. This is how I read the current chessboard.

Youri Carma Jul 7, 2017 1:28 PM Permalink

Germany Is Addicted to Russian Gashttps://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-03/german-addiction-to-… - New pipeline would cut costs of shipping gas to western Europe- Hearing on local objections scheduled for later this month German 'hidden' energy deal with Russiahttp://www.cps.org.uk/files/factsheets/original/151118111155-Germanysde… Oil's Plunge a Helping Hand as Gazprom Cements German Griphttp://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-15/oil-s-plunge-a-helpin… - Russian gas exports to Germany rose to record last year - Germany got 55% of its gas imports from Russia: Marex Spectron Germany Proves Russia’s Most Loyal Gas Customer as Price Plungeshttp://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-14/eu-aims-to-lure-greek… Russia to construct new gas pipeline to Germany, EU direct supplies to doublehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m31nyinZ_RQ RWE to Proceed With Dea Sale to LetterOne - Despite British Objection, Transaction to Go Through Monday, RWE Sayshttp://www.wsj.com/articles/rwe-to-proceed-with-dea-sale-to-letterone-1… RWE to close Dea sale to Russian group by Marchhttp://www.marketwatch.com/story/rwe-to-close-dea-sale-to-russian-group… Novo Nordisk Plans to Move Forward With Investments in Russiahttp://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2015-01-23/novo-nordisk-plans-to-mo…  Russian Sanctions Only For Europe's 'little people' Not For BP, Total and Shell BP, Rosneft sign production, refining pactshttp://www.marketwatch.com/story/bp-rosneft-sign-production-refining-pa… Russia’s Rosneft, British BP Nearing $700 Mln Deal – Reportshttp://sputniknews.com/business/20150615/1023365652.html BP’s Latest Battle: Keeping Control of Prize Caspian Fieldhttp://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-19/bp-s-latest-battle-ke… Total sells stake in German refinery to Rosnefthttp://www.marketwatch.com/story/total-sells-stake-in-german-refinery-t… Exclusive: Gazprom building global alliance with expanded Shellhttp://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/19/us-gazprom-shell-exclusive-id… Gazprom is building a global strategic alliance with energy major Royal Dutch Shell that will include asset swaps and allow the Russian gas giant to penetrate new markets, its chief executive told Reuters.  Russian Sanctions Only For American's 'little people' Not For Exxon, Boeing, Ford and McDonaldMcDonald's signs second franchising deal in Russiahttp://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/21/us-mcdonalds-russia-franchisi… Ford opens $275 million engine plant in Russiahttp://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/03/us-ford-motor-russia-plant-id… U.S. carmaker Ford's Russian venture, Ford Sollers, opened a $275 million engine plant on Thursday, which will help make its Russian-produced vehicles less dependent on imported components and currency fluctuations. Ford aims to spend 60% of the cost of producing cars for the Russian market in the country itself by 2020, to qualify for benefits such as lower import duties on car components. Smith & Nephew buys Russian manufacturing businesshttp://www.marketwatch.com/story/smith-nephew-buys-russian-manufacturin… Boeing’s 747 Jumbo Boosted by $7.4 Billion Order From Russiahttp://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-17/boeing-s-747-jumbo-bo… Sanctions & Saber Rattling Doesn't Stop The US From Importing Russian Petroleumhttp://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-05-05/sanctions-saber-rattling-doesn… Exxon Chief Rex Tillerson to make another big bet on Russiahttp://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-09/exxon-needs-friends-i… Exxon’s Russia Exposure Surges as Long View Outweighs Sanctionshttp://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-03/exxon-s-russia-exposu…  Russian Sanctions Only For American's 'little people' Not For Goldman SachsExxon is Goldman Sachs pick over Chevron, ConocoPhillipshttp://www.marketwatch.com/story/exxon-is-goldman-sachs-pick-over-chevr… Goldman Busts The Narrative: The New Oil Order Is “Blessing In Disguise” For Russiahttp://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-02-04/goldman-busts-narrative-new-oi… Sanctions Don’t Bar Oil-Service Giants Bidding in Arctichttp://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-17/libya-chaos-put-regio… Schlumberger to Pay $1.7 Billion for Stake in Russia Drillerhttp://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2015-01-20/schlumberger-to-pay-1-7-…

MEFOBILLS Jul 7, 2017 1:16 PM Permalink

Crucially, this agreement also included a gas transportation triangle between Moscow, Teheran and Bonn, and was “fiercely but completely clandestinely embattled by the Carter administration How about a gas transport SQUARE, which includes the U.S.?   A gas pipeline (and Oil pipleline) across Bearing Straights, which then connects to Alaska and Continential U.S.?Moscow, Teheran, and Bonn are all Europeans - not Semite speakers.  Moscow, Teheran, and Bonn are our NATURAL  Allies, not enemies.  America picked wrong when it picked Sunni Arabs and our closest ((friends)).  Time for a divorce and new allies.NATURAL allies have culture, history, language and genetics in common.   

WTFUD Jul 7, 2017 12:59 PM Permalink

Let's do, a she loves me, she loves me not with a daisy petal, for Nord Stream 2, or being a finance guru would you prefer 3 card monte?

This internal NATO bickering malarkey, i see as a good thing and Vlad can sit back, chill, and watch Vichy DC choke on it's own vomit.

Jim Shoesesta (not verified) Jul 7, 2017 12:54 PM Permalink

Oh wait, its ok for the EU and all the morons to tell us to stop using cheap coal and that we must join their climate charade or suffer the consequences. Fuk you Europe, go to Muslim hell. Oh, and fuk Hillary too.  

roisaber (not verified) Jul 7, 2017 12:44 PM Permalink

After putting Germany's throat under a jewish boot during the War of Allied aggression, maybe we owe the people of Europe one genuine liberation for real this time.

markar Jul 7, 2017 12:44 PM Permalink

If Merkel promoting more refugees and climate change doesn't prove she's a Rothschild whore, I don't know does. She's the reason they should be setting Hamburg on fire.

Arrest Hillary Jul 7, 2017 12:43 PM Permalink

I hope no one was under the illusion .... that Trump couldn't bitch slap .... this bitch, Merkel .... no, the word bitch doesn't become her .... it high lights her lack of youthful sexual aura .... she does have a certain moribund sexual gravitas ?

geeves Jul 7, 2017 12:36 PM Permalink

So basically Trump can just pull back the sanctions against Russia and make Merkel accept everything else, which was probably the plan all along.