Forever Wars Joe Lauria Russia-Ukraine

The Timing of the Pipeline Attack

The U.S. had already forced Germany to shut down Nord Stream 2 but there are signs that an end to the Ukraine war would have put it back online, writes Joe Lauria.
Biden calling for overthrow of Putin in Warsaw in March. (Office of the President)

By Joe Lauria / Consortium News

President Joe Biden, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz by his side, promised a White House press conference in early February that the U.S. was “able” to shut down the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea if Russia invaded Ukraine. 

A reporter asked Biden, “But how will you do that, exactly, since…the project is in Germany’s control?” Biden said: “I promise you, we will be able to do that.”

When Russia indeed invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, Washington was able to get Berlin to suspend the pipeline project that was about to go online, even though it wasn’t in Germany’s interests. 

The pipeline has remained closed ever since. Why then did someone attack the pipeline on Monday, releasing the gas it contained into the Baltic Sea? As long as the war continues, the U.S. has what it wants regarding the pipeline.

Evidently, the fear in Washington is that the war might not continue for as long as it wants. I argued on Feb. 4, twenty days before the invasion, that the U.S. was setting a trap for Russia and needed it to invade Ukraine in order to unleash an information, economic and proxy war with the ultimate aim of regime change in Moscow. All that was confirmed by March 27.

Since then the U.S. and Britain have done everything it can to keep the war going, and the economic sanctions in place.  But those sanctions on Russia are devastating the European economy, driving energy prices up and shutting businesses down.  Ordinary Europeans are facing a winter in which they may not be able to afford to heat their homes.

This has led to growing popular unrest and pressure on European governments to end the war, lift the sanctions and save their economies.  Ending the war and lifting sanction would lead to the reopening of Nord Stream 2 (and the turbine repair of Nord Stream 1, which was also attacked).

Site of the Nord Stream 2 attack. (Danish Defense Ministry)

Offer to Resume Shipments

Three weeks ago, President Vladimir Putin told a press conference in Samarkand that Russia was ready to resume supplying natural gas to Germany if Germany lifted its economic sanctions against Russia.   Putin said: 

“After all, if they need [gas] urgently, if things are so bad, just go ahead and lift sanctions against Nord Stream 2, with its 55 billion cubic metres per year – all they have to do is press the button and they will get it going. But they chose to shut it off themselves; they cannot repair one pipeline and imposed sanctions against the new Nord Stream 2 and will not open it. Are we to blame for this? Let them think hard about who is to blame and let none of them blame us for their own mistakes. Gazprom and Russia have always fulfilled and will fulfil all obligations under our agreements and contracts, with no failures ever.”

So the offer is there to return normal gas supplies to Europe if the sanctions are lifted. With the war having passed into its most dangerous phase, there is a growing urgency to stop the war, including talk of a Saudi-led peace process in which Ukraine would cede territory to Russia in exchange for peace.

If momentum grows for a peace deal of any kind it would ruin Washington’s long-term plans to weaken Russia. It would mean Nord Stream 2 would reopen, which would help Germany and Russia, but crush U.S. aims at regime change and making Europe dependent on U.S. energy.

“I promise you, we will be able” to shut down Nord Stream 2, Biden vowed. But how would the U.S. do that if Germany became poised to reopen it?

Joe Lauria
Joe Lauria

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at joelauria@consortiumnews.com and followed on Twitter @unjoe

17 comments

  1. How brainwashed do people have to be to NOT see the obvious?

    The U.S. just “burned the bridges” behind Europe to keep Europe from breaking with the U.S. and making its own peace with Russia.

    “Nord Stream 2 would have been the key to some sort of settlement between Russia and the Europeans. The sabotage has virtually announced that the war can only intensify with no end in sight.”

    https://consortiumnews.com/2022/09/28/diana-johnstone-omerta-in-the-gangster-war/

  2. I can’t imagine why Russia would blow up its own pipeline. Also, can’t imagine Germany doing it. Who does that leave?

    1. We don’t know what happened. This began with a report of a leak (like the one some months ago). Not terribly surprising, in a pipeline over 700 miles long. Within days, the leak was turned into an “explosion,” and then into “explosions.” What we do know is that the one country that has anything to gain from shutting down this pipeline is the US. Although the world’s biggest exporter of natural gas, the US has a surprisingly small market in the EU. Shutting down the Russian pipeline would change this.

  3. This was a crossing of the Rubicon moment in history. Or an Arch Duke Ferdinand Serejevo moment if you prefer. With a bit of Cortez burning his own ships thrown in.

    The world changed forever and the US has set us upon a course that almost guarantees an eventual nuclear confrontation, and once again practically nobody in my reality even noticed or cared, so lost in illusion, delusion and ignorance they are incapable of rational thought.

    What is next? A false flag nuke in the Ukraine? Some biological monster coming out of the biolab?

    Washington after making Germany shoot it’s own foot off with sanctions, just slit it’s throat and now we all get to watch Germany bleed out. Think of the absolute ruthless and psychotic minds that would do such a thing…to their ALLY.

    The entire world knows the truth of what happened and nothing will ever be the same again. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall people. The US, it’s government and it’s people are totally, irrevocably insane and we now begin to reap the full consequences.

    As for myself, I put a pox, a curse, on the entire corrupt and bloated edifice of hate, greed and ignorance. If it comes down to nuclear annihilation or this sick and twisted dystopia of lies, the choice for me is an easy one. Give me liberty or give me death.

  4. This is how sick Biden is. He condemns those who let methane into the atmosphere yet they bomb a methane pipline and release gases that cause global warming. They care not for the planet or you or me. They are evil personified for Global Control, power, money and greed. They want to shut Russia down but they never will. You see the people want peace and are tired of these evil ones in power always interceding the peace process. They know not love or compassion, only Domination and that is all they stand for. But the power of Love and Truth will destroy the darkness they bring to the equation. It is happening right now and all that is necessary for a trifecta is Unity of the people of the world. Russia is not acting against any other interest that is clear. NATO went back on its word not to expand after the Soviet Union disbanded. What would happen if Russia took control of Mexico and expanded toward the US? It happened in CUBA and there was almost a Nuclear War. Stupidity reigns supreme.

  5. What’s clearly revealing is that Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO, without cracking a smile, said the damage to the pipelines was an act of sabotage. Really? The man needs an academy award for that performance. Not even Robert Di Niro could have done better. It shouldn’t be a mystery that the U.S. did the deed or arranged to have someone else do it. Why in the name of sanity would the Russians damage their own pipelines? The madness continues.

  6. Joe Lauria is right on the mark. Our media in the US and Europe is so embedded with US stooges that they will push any story no matter how ridiculous, and depend on the cowed public to go along.

    US intervention is all over this mess and you can be sure another forever war and endless profits for the military-industrial cartel are right around the corner.

    Way to go, Joe (Biden)!

  7. Sabotage of NS1 and NS2 pose problems for a negotiated settlement. But this is a World War – -that is the US against the World – including its vassal states.. And, without a doubt, the attacks were orchestrated by the US, perhaps using the Poles. While this poses short term problems for the Russia, it is reactive on the part of the US, rather than rational. “Nihilistic” is a good word, here , as in killing your allies in a war to do what? Stiffen resolve? . Longer term, next year, you are likely to see the EU moving towards devolution, and perhaps even the nation states within it. Can the US profit from disintegration? Not as a country, all a some of its neoliberal elites might. Then again, the US is also divided and moving towards, devolution as well. Russia, by contrast, is growing. The referenda prove it has won and will soon incorporate the active parts of what used to be the USSR’s powerhouse– Ukraine.
    https://julianmacfarlane.substack.com/p/the-new-war-in-ukraine

    Reply ↓

  8. We’ve watched as Zelensky moved forward with what appears to be the ethnic cleansing of Ukraine, targeting the sizable ethnic Russian population in the eastern section of the country. When Russia intervened, we called it a “Russian invasion.” Not in intervention, not a necessary life-saving response, but an “invasion.” Of course. After all, the US has “invested” a tremendous amount of money in Zelensky.

  9. Occam’s Razor would seem to eliminate Germany, Russia and China.
    Who does that leave?
    Ah yes, it must be those pesky Martians.
    At least this time the underwater explosion did not trigger an earthquake or a tsunami.

  10. what are the consequences? gas now 4-10 times more expensive. EU most harmed. USA frackers most benefitted. for Russia there is no benefit, probably no harm since prices higher and Asian markets, Tukstream power of Siberia other conduits will likely compensate

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