The effort by the United States to use sanctions to shut down the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany by imposing sanctions on the entities involved in it is, in my opinion, is beyond outrageous. However, nobody seems to be surprised because it is part of a pattern. This is merely the most recent demonstration of the increasingly egregious violations of the laws, customs, traditions and mores that govern the behavior of civilized nations that we now expect from the United States of America.
Oddly, in this case, it may be both the problem and the solution. There are reports that suggest that Russia believes it can complete the pipeline itself and bring the project to a conclusion perhaps just a few months behind schedule.
The Russian business newspaper Kommersant reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin told a group of Russian businessmen that a Russian ship, the Akademik Cherskly (Academic Cherskly) can lay pipe for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, although not as quickly as the Dutch-Swiss company’s vessel that was taken out of service due to the sanctions threatened by the United States.
If Putin is being honest about this, it could be a good thing for the world and especially the European Union. The EU needs the appearance of a victory on this one. This pipeline is, in fact, essential to the long-term energy security of the European Union.
The allies, possibly former allies, of the United States need to make it clear that the U.S. is not free to endanger the security of nations that are trying to be its friend.
The administration of Donald Trump is behaving ridiculously with some of its sanctions. You may recall that the United States imposed sanctions personally on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. The explanation was that the foreign minister “is a key enabler of Ayatollah Khamenei’s policies.” Criticizing a foreign minister for being an advocate for the policies of his government is about a ridiculous as one can get.
So, there needs to be some push-back against the Trump administration’s foolish and irresponsible efforts to use sanctions to force Europe to buy LNG from the U.S. and turn away the natural gas Russia wants to sell.
Having said all that, if the U.S. wishes to offer Europe LNG that is less expensive than the price Russia is offering for its gas, I think that would be just fine. Some serious price competition between two of the world’s major gas producers would be a good thing for Europe.