- - Thursday, December 13, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The European Parliament this week approved a resolution condemning the Nord Stream II pipeline, a project currently being built to deliver large amounts of Russian natural gas primarily to Germany and other markets in Western Europe.

The resolution called the pipeline a political project that threatens European energy security and efforts to diversify supply sources. The European Parliament lawmakers called for the cancellation of the project.

Sounds nice, but the document is actually the height of hypocrisy and virtue-signaling.  

Don’t get me wrong — President Trump is right. Nord Stream II will definitely make Germany more dependent on the Kremlin’s gas and will weaken Europe’s security overall. It’s a bad idea.

Russia has long shown a willingness to use its energy supplies as a weapon. Does anyone really think that Moscow would hesitate to blackmail Berlin with the threat of supply interruption if the Russian President Vladimir Putin thought it would help achieve his political, military and security goals?  

As the Russian economy limps along, hamstrung by Western sanctions over Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine, Mr. Putin would like nothing else than to gain additional leverage over Germany with Nord Stream II. It would give Russia the leverage in a future crisis to make Europe an offer it couldn’t refuse: Do what we want or no gas for you.  

However, the simple fact is that Germany will not stop the project.

Berlin will not do so for the same reason it will not spend the NATO target of 2 percent of its GDP on its own defense. Germany will do what is good for Germany, damn the consequences to others. It will do this as it demands countries like Hungary, Poland and Italy accept more migrants who threaten to destroy their culture and security. It will do so as it attempts to inflict pain on the U.K. for having the gall to vote to leave the EU big-government paradise.

It will do so as it seeks a seat on the U.N. Security Council in the name of the EU, essentially taking the French or the British seat on the Council.

Europe is very content to sit under the American defense umbrella and talk tough to Moscow. It is particularly content to do so while racking up a trade surplus with the U.S. of well over $100 billion annually.  

Moscow scoffed at the demands of the EU Parliament resolution.

“Some countries are closing down nuclear power plants. Also, they plan to stop using Russian natural gas,” observed Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova.  “Will they opt for firewood?”

She added, “If the European legislators really pin their hopes on global warming, then, yes, this may turn out a reasonable solution in the long term. The waiting period is a great problem, though.” 

If Europeans truly want to get Moscow’s attention, if they want to seriously confront Russian behavior in Ukraine, if they really covet the world leadership role they say they want, then they should show some leadership and cancel the Nord Stream II pipeline. Only in this way can Germany show that it really cares about the security of Europe. Only in this way can it show that it really does want to pay its fair share.

Germany says it wants to be a force for good in the world and that the EU project is not just a shell game to mask Germany’s economic rise. The way to prove it is to pull the plug on Nord Stream II.

Go ahead, I dare you.  

⦁ L. Todd Wood is a former special operations helicopter pilot and Wall Street debt trader, and has contributed to Fox Business, The Moscow Times, National Review, the New York Post and many other publications. He can be reached through his website, LToddWood.com.


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