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Merkel flips on Biden pipeline protest

When the U.S. created NATO, a primary purpose of the alliance was to serve as a western wall to defend Germany against Russia.

Seventy years later, Germany has decided to double its dependence on Vladimir Putin’s Russia for the natural gas needed to run the German economy.

The Biden administration decided to waive sanctions on Matthias Warnig, the ally of Putin whose company, Nord Stream 2 AG, is laying the pipeline beneath the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany that is now 95% complete.

When done, Nord Stream 2 will make Moscow Germany’s principal supplier of natural gas, and cut Kyiv out of hundreds of millions in transit fees it annually receives for letting Russian gas pass through Ukraine to Germany.

Previously, Joe Biden and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had seemed resolute in opposition. Said Blinken:

“We think the (Nord Stream 2) pipeline is a bad idea. It advances Russia’s interests and undermines Europe’s interests and our own.”

As late as March, the Biden administration had made clear its commitment to complying with sanctions put in place with bipartisan support in Congress.

Ukraine is stunned and outraged. Its parliament, the Rada, has passed a resolution urging Congress to “use all available tools provided by US law to completely and irreversibly stop the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. …”

Why did Biden and Blinken fold? Was it to set up Biden’s June summit with Putin?

The decisive factor was probably that Nord Stream 2 is just about complete and America’s principal continental ally, Germany, is wholly committed to the project. Prime Minister Angela Merkel approved the deal.

Germany’s dependence on Russian gas is certain to grow as Berlin, as it plans to do, phases out its coal and nuclear power plants.

This raises a question about NATO. Would a Germany that is doubling its dependency on Russia for the natural gas that fuels its economy be willing to go to war against that same Russia? Would Berlin be willing to declare war on its own gas station?

Biden’s climbdown on opposition to Nord Stream 2 is startling from another standpoint. He and his team have shown themselves to be true climate change zealots.

On his first day in office, Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer just told a Canadian energy company, Enbridge, it must shut down a controversial oil and gas pipeline that passes under the Straits of Mackinac.

For 67 years, Enbridge has moved oil and gas from western Canada through Michigan and the Great Lakes. But Michigan now says that this one section of the pipeline is too risky.

Earlier in May, America got a wake-up call about the vulnerability of its energy supply. Colonial Pipeline was forced to shut down after being hit by ransomware.

Half the gas stations in several states on the Eastern seaboard had to close. This demonstrated the vulnerability of the U.S. energy system and the cyberattacks that enemies far more serious than the criminal gang who launched the attack on the Colonial Pipeline could launch.

Fifty years ago, we confronted a grave threat to U.S. energy security and independence: an oil embargo imposed by OPEC in retaliation for Richard Nixon’s military aid that enabled Israel to prevail in the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

Are we still prepared for something of that magnitude?

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