The bombing of the Nord Stream gas pipeline: who benefits?

On Monday, powerful underwater explosions tore gaping holes in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which carry Russian natural gas under the Baltic Sea to Germany. Gas spouts a kilometer in diameter are rising to the surface from explosions that have occurred in Danish waters. Tens of billions of dollars of vital infrastructure to finance the Russian economy and fuel and heat the German and European economy are in ruins.

As the United States and NATO wage a war against Russia in Ukraine, this event indicates the reckless military escalation underway in Europe. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the blasts were the result of a “deliberate action” by unknown parties, while Swedish seismologist Bjorn Lund said: “There is no doubt this is not a earthquake”.

Although the European media immediately accused Russia of bombing the Nord Stream pipelines, these accusations quickly crumbled.

Even the New York Times, normally a source of aggressive anti-Russian propaganda, refrained from blaming Moscow for the bombing. “At first glance, it seems counterintuitive that the Kremlin is damaging its own assets by billions of dollars,” he acknowledged. “While some European officials were quick to speculate about Russian involvement, U.S. officials were more cautious, noting the lack of available evidence,” he continued, noting that Washington “and most of its European allies have refrained from naming suspects”.

Former Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski, a member of several NATO think tanks and married to prominent US foreign policy commentator Anne Applebaum, has openly suggested that Washington was behind the attack. He tweeted a photo of the natural gas squirter with the label: “Thank you, USA”. He added: “Now $20 billion worth of scrap metal lies at the bottom of the sea, another cost to Russia for its criminal decision to invade Ukraine.”

Accusations of Russian involvement in the bombings lack credibility and divert attention from the far more likely perpetrator: the United States. The first question to ask about the Nord Stream attack is: Cyes bono? Who benefits and who had the motive to do so?

Russia had no reason to destroy the Nord Stream pipeline. Russian conglomerate Gazprom owned half of the pipeline, alongside German, French and Dutch shareholders, and the pipeline was central to Moscow’s plans to rebuild economic ties with Europe, if and when war with NATO in Ukraine was ending. He had no reason to blow up his own pipeline.

For Washington, the bombardment had two advantages. First, amid NATO’s military escalation against Russia in Ukraine, it would help fuel more anti-Russian war propaganda. Second, by making Europe more dependent on imports of American natural gas to replace Russian gas, it corresponded to a major American objective in the Ukraine war from the start: to bring Europe more firmly under American control. . These objectives have become more and more visible in recent years.

In 2018, bitter conflicts erupted between the Trump administration and Berlin, as Trump imposed sanctions on German car exports to America and demanded that Berlin shut down Nord Stream 2.

On February 7, 2022, as he escalated economic and military threats against the Kremlin ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, US President Joe Biden invited German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Washington for talks. In a joint press conference with Scholz, Biden pledged to destroy the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. “If Russia invades,” Biden said, “then there will be no more Nord Stream 2. We are there. we’ll end.”

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When asked how he would proceed – as the Nord Stream pipeline is jointly owned by Russia and so-called US NATO allies such as Germany, France and the Netherlands – Biden refused. to respond, simply saying, “I promise you, we’ll be able to do that.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union by the Stalinist bureaucracy in 1991 not only paved the way for NATO to wage bloody imperialist wars from Iraq and Yugoslavia to Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. It deprived NATO of its main enemy, which had helped unite the alliance, and opened up Eurasia to big American and European companies. Tensions between the imperialist NATO powers, as they vied to share the spoils of the global economy, exploded.

Trump demanded that Berlin end Nord Stream 2 after calling for an EU military build-up and a defense policy independent of NATO. While then German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Germany to “fight ourselves for its own future”, French President Emmanuel Macron called on the EU to prepare to face Russia, the China or America.

EU officials have rejected Trump’s calls to end Nord Stream 2. Such demands, German lawmaker Rolf Mützenich said, “affect German and European businesses and represent interference in our internal affairs. EU and Germany are apparently not allied partners for Trump, but tributary vassals…”

American policy toward Europe recalls Leon Trotsky’s warning nearly a century ago that in times of crisis “the hegemony of the United States will operate more completely, more openly, and more ruthlessly than in boom time”. Trotsky described US imperialism’s plans for Europe after World War I as follows:

This will divide the markets; it will regulate the activity of European financiers and industrialists. If we want to give a clear and precise answer to the question of what US imperialism wants, we must say: it wants to put capitalist Europe on rationing.

This concisely describes Washington policy today. This year, he took advantage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to escalate the war with Russia and enforce the cutoff of EU energy trade with Russia that he had long sought. The impact on Europe is devastating.

Millions of workers in Europe are at risk of freezing this winter, as gas prices have risen tenfold as Europe replaces cheap Russian gas transported by pipeline with American liquefied natural gas. Price increases are further amplified as European currencies fall against the US dollar, which appreciates as the US Federal Reserve raises interest rates. European steel, chemical and other companies, the the wall street journal noted, “are shifting operations to the United States, attracted by more stable energy prices and strong government support.”

The EU imperialists have accepted this, as war is a pretext to continue diverting billions of euros to rearmament. The German bourgeoisie in particular aims, after having lost two world wars, to once again become the leading military power in Europe. This month, Scholz called on Germany to “become the cornerstone of conventional defense in Europe, the best-equipped force in Europe” and demanded a German seat on the UN Security Council.

While Berlin officially ended its support for Nord Stream 2 after the Russian invasion, it raises the question of renewing energy ties with Russia. This week, Merkel said that we must never lose sight of “the day after”. She called for thinking about what is “completely unimaginable at the moment, namely how something like relations to and with Russia can be developed again.”

It is more credible to explain the Nord Stream attack, not as an act of economic and political suicide by Russia, but as a signal sent by Washington to its “allies” in the EU: “Yes, you can remilitarize, but your energy and military policy will be established on our terms.

These conflicts make all the clearer the enormous dangers facing masses of workers and young people as NATO and Russia teeter on the brink of an all-out global conflagration.